Last year when we moved to Donnycarney I knew that I was going to be
doing a tremendous amount of walking with the new baby, not to mention that it
was the only thing to do! I took routes through the houses of Grace Park, down
through Marino and up to Clontarf. One or the other or both!
I soon became aware of the amazing small businesses around me and felt it was
important to support them. I integrated my grocery shopping routine into these
walks at the beginning of the week. It was a special day for me. You can’t beat
walking into a business and the place is everything you want it to be and more!
On top of that, being welcomed with a warm familiar smile and having a chit
chat is just golden.
During COVID when things were particularly strict and when I had a tiny baby,
this type of customer service REALLY helped me. I wanted to celebrate the
people and their businesses that helped me ‘get through it all’.
So that was it, My Local Heroes was born. I’ll continue to find and
celebrate My Local Heroes but if you have a person that comes to mind in
your neighbourhood that you think would be a good candidate I’d love to hear
from you! Click here to get in touch.
First up; Larry Boland from Market Fair Butchers and Grocers in Marino.
Larry Boland – Market Fair Butchers and Grocers
Market Fair Butchers and Grocers was my first stop on my
shopping day. I had always wanted to have a local butcher to go to and I feel
quite privileged knowing that this is my ‘local’. The store is a wonderland of
meats, cheese, fresh fish, spices, sauces and pasta. To me, it’s more than just
a butcher, it’s an artisan grocery store that sells high-quality meats. You
walk in and you are surrounded by an array of colours from the jars and the
packaging together with the funky artwork is a feast for the eyes. It’s simply
a pleasure to be in!
Larry is a lovely man who always takes the time to have a chat
with you and lets you in on his life away from work. But he never forces the
chat either, I like that. (Mammas you know what I mean when someone wants to
talk the ear off you and you’ve had a max of 3 hours sleep the night before!)
There are little pieces of Larry all over the store. Larry’s
suggestions, Larry’s antiques etc all add that personal touch to the business.
When seasonal festivities come around be sure to book in your lamb or turkey,
there are queues out the door!
Larry got me through COVID because I knew that I had a fabulous
little sanctuary waiting for me once a week that would provide me with
delicious meats and treats for us to spoil ourselves with. Not to mention the
sense of familiarity that comes with frequenting a small business. I asked
Larry if he’d be interested in my project and he gratefully accepted.
Larry, tell me about yourself and your business?
“Hi my names Larry, my business is Market Fair Butchers and
Grocers. It started off as a small butcher with my good friend Declan. I
thought myself and Declan would work until our 60’s together but he decided to
move on and I bought Declan’s half. From then I had a dream of making the store
more than just a butcher, I wanted to sell a selection of high-quality products
as well. So I started to slowly work on introducing new products and built it
up from there.”
How did you get into being a butcher?
“Back in the eighties, times were tough. It wasn’t something
I aspired to be, it was the first job I took and I worked hard at it. I
realised I loved the people side of the business and just never left it.”
What are your hobbies outside of the business?
“Landscaping, history, movies and walking but my favourite hobby is
Urban exploring. Going into derelict houses and castles. Obviously, if the building
was locked I wouldn’t go in but there are many open and derelict buildings
in Ireland. I’ve built up a collection of photographs over the
years. I love the history of imagining or discovering the story behind the
building. I have now got both my children into it too. It’s a really interesting
thing! Some places are left exactly how they were all those years ago.”
What impact has COVID had on your business?
“For trade, it’s been good as we have been open the whole
time and had great support but the stresses were there too such as the constant
fear of infection and bringing it home. If someone had asked me if I would go
through another year like last year, even with its financial gain, I would have
said no thanks. It’s not worth it.
I’m also really sorry for anyone who had to close their business and hope that they come back stronger than ever when they can reopen. When you are a self-employed business owner, worrying about your business can cause a huge amount of stress”
What have you done to help you keep sane during this crazy
“My garden has helped as couldn’t go exploring but for the
most part I just kept busy. I wish I had tried to get a bit more fit but sure.
I probably overdid the business too as I kept busy at work and at home.”
You can go and visit Larry at Market Fair Butchers and Grocers, Philipsburgh Ave, Ballybough, Dublin 3. Or check out his website to order online.
Follow him on Instagram here.