Local businesses the beating heart of their community

by Gazette Reporter

HERITAGE Credit Union is the beating heart of the Walkinstown community. It’s one of 24 Dublin credit unions promoting the message to support local businesses during these challenging times.

This year the CU team has pledged to go green and is urging others to do the same to do their part to recycle, re-use and reduce.
A spokesperson explained: “We re-cycle all of our marketing materials. Our branded stationery and marketing brochures are produced from carbon balanced paper using non-toxic plant based inks.

“We offer Green loans to our members and we do our part individually to reduce our carbon footprint, choosing to walk and cycle to work where possible. Let’s all do our part!”

While Heritage CU is at the heart of the community, so too are many local Dublin businesses who have built up a loyal customer following over the years.

Green Kitchen Café (https://www.walk.ie/thegreenkitchen/) is nestled in the busy hub of Walkinstown Green in D12, along with the credit union, Tony Kealy’s childcare shop and A-Z Hire.

“The Green Kitchen Café is a wonderful social hub and provides a wonderful amenity and training programme, and is also a viable commercial business,” said Brian Kellard, commercial manager for the social enterprise venture.

The café partners with WALK, a Walkinstown-based charity which helps people with autism and other needs, with an end goal to help service users learn life skills via training programmes to find long-term employment.

“During the pandemic, the café continued to provide takeaways, and we cooked and distributed 4,000 meals to elderly in the area during lockdown,” Brian told Dublin Gazette. “We’ve a super team of volunteers in the café and garden, run by and for people with disabilities.”

The Green Kitchen Café consists of a café, a garden centre and a training room. Its relaxed, community atmosphere allows staff to really get to know their customers.

“Our training programmes give real life skills to persons with autism or challenging conditions; it gives them confidence in themselves and their abilities and many go on to secure paid employment.”

For Wayne Phillips, manager of Dublin Workwear Centre, a sound reputation and the ability to diversify have been key to success. 

Established in 2015, the workwear provider provides workwear to the construction, catering and more recently, to the nursing and medical sector.

“Like all small companies, we are dependent on the custom of our clientele of say, the hospitality sector and the construction industry,” said Wayne.

“When the pandemic restrictions hit and those industries were closed down immediately, our business diverted totally to the medical sector.

“For the past few months, we were supplying non-stop to the frontline workers; PPE, visors, face masks… We always provided uniforms to the healthcare sector including nurses and doctor’s uniforms, surgery wear but since the pandemic spread, we’ve been out the door busy – orders and emails flying, the phones were hopping!

“Now in recent weeks, as the construction industry has returned, we have more orders for that.”

See dublinworkwearcentre.com

Stephen Clare, proprietor of Grange Dry Cleaners, Rathfarnham, bought the business on Barton Drive 17 years ago, having previously operated a dry cleaners in Monkstown for eight years.

“Pre-Covid, I had three more staff working there. But with the pandemic spread, we initially closed but re opened in June when restrictions were lifted,” he explained. “It’s just me here for the moment but I’m hoping to take staff back in the next few weeks. 

“As schools re-open, hopefully, some of the local offices will open up too.

“Business was badly hit when doctors and members of the financial profession no longer required suits or shirts dry cleaned. That hit us badly, in fact trade was down by 70% – people can work from home wearing track suits or shorts.

“But we’re getting a lot of bedding in, a little increase in shirt cleaning as people go back part time. Dublin city shuts down at 11pm so everything is still in pandemic mode.”

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