Tesco supports local suppliers with the opening of the iconic Headford store

Tesco Ireland commercial director Joe Manning said the emphasis on local suppliers comes naturally for Tesco as they are “by far the biggest buyer of Irish products in the world”.

“We buy 1.6 billion Irish products every year for the Irish markets as well as the UK and Central Europe. We buy more Irish products than any other EU country, it’s something we really focus on.”

“What’s different about the Galway stores is that we go a little further. A lot of the suppliers we buy from are big Irish exporters, whereas in the new Joyce conversion stores, we’re starting to get a little more local and To really understand the potential of some of the local suppliers and see if we can bring them in regionally and hopefully some of them will become national suppliers for us.”

With such a strong theme of ‘supporting local purveyors’ being championed during the opening of the Headford branch, many well-known Irish products grown or made within a stone’s throw were proudly featured, including; Galway Potatoes, All About Kombucha, Divilly Brothers, Butler’s Home Bakery and the works of local artist Caroline Uí Chuláin of West Ireland Art.

The store was officially opened by Galway TD, Sean Canney, who said the introduction of Tesco to the Headford area was the next stage in Headford’s evolution and heralded a “new era”.

“I have to acknowledge the building and facility built by Pat Joyce and her family who were huge contributors to the City of Headford and I believe we are now entering a new era. One that will solidify retail and shopping and make Headford a central location. Tesco has retained the workforce that was here and added to it, which is very important for the local economy.”

The Joyces Headford store was the flagship of what became the Joyces supermarket chain, which expanded to Athenry, Tuam, Inverin, Knocknacarra and four other locations over a period of fifteen years. Following the Joyces acquisition in November 2021, there was initially some concern among local vendors that had previously partnered with Joyces, as to whether the megastore would continue their relationship.

Barry Stephens of Galway Potatoes said that despite initial concerns, Tesco stuck to its decision to use local suppliers like him in its Galway stores.

“It’s a great deal for us to have our potatoes in Tesco stores. Initially, when we heard about the sale to Tesco, we thought they might not want to keep using old suppliers, but they have been great to work with and have given us lots of advice. and opportunities”.

Galway Potatoes is a veteran Galway based business started by Stephen’s father and uncle some 60 years ago. For Stephen, the fact that he has to travel no more than 20 kilometers from the fields where the potatoes were grown to the shelves of Tesco stores means that customers get fresh, locally grown produce with a minimal carbon footprint.

Speaking about using local suppliers, Canney MP praised Tesco, saying it was “the thing to do”.

“The first thing people see when they walk into the store is the bakery, which is full of local products. Tesco brought back all the local Joyces suppliers and added more, and it’s great. It’s the thing to do, if we want to. Talking about save on carbon emissions, we need to use as many local products as possible.”

One such prominent business is Butler’s Home Bakery, located in Menlough. Butler’s products, including their wholemeal bread, oatmeal bread and scones, were proudly displayed in Headford Tesco’s bakery section, introducing the local family business to an even wider customer base.

James Butler, one of the founders of Butler’s Home Bakery, said the opportunity to “sell and grow” with Tesco meant a lot to small vendors.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to sell and grow within Tesco, and to see our products in all the stores. It’s great for small suppliers like us.”

Keith Loftus, is one of the two founders of All About Kombucha, a Claregalway Kombucha brewery that is responsible for introducing ‘booch’ to people across the country. Loftus said he is “delighted” with the partnership between All About Kombucha and Tesco.

“We are delighted that our Kombucha products are now available in the new Tesco stores in Galway, this is a huge win for us and we are very grateful to Tesco for the opportunity. As a member of 1% for the Planet, we donate a portion of our sales to two local charities. Supporting us means supporting them too.”

Shane Divilly, of the newly renamed Divilly Brothers (formerly known as Divilly Meats Ltd) of Oranmore, said his products have been flying off the shelves at newly opened Tesco stores. Founded in 1927, the Divilly family have been providing the people of Galway with high quality meats for almost a century and are currently run by Shane Divilly and his brother Peter. With 60 employees currently working in the business, a win for Divillys is a win for the local economy.

“For us, it’s not just that we’re producing close to Tesco stores, but we’re producing Irish food. Our factory is located in the Gaeltacht and the Irish language is used on our packaging.

“Having Divilly Brother products at Tesco means the world to us. When it comes to retail in Ireland, it’s changing. Smaller country shops are closing and people are turning to bigger stores like Tesco for their purchases. Having our products on Tesco store shelves means we can grow with Tesco.

‘Tesco has a fantastic name as a retailer, and many people won’t shop anywhere but Tesco. Having our products on display here means a lot to us.”

It wasn’t just food purveyors who turned up at the opening, Spiddal-based artist Caroline Uí Chuláin had the range of Christmas cards on display. Featuring scenes from Galway’s beloved landmarks, Uí Chuláin’s partnership with Tesco means her art has the potential to enter thousands of homes across Ireland.

Uí Chuláin has been an artist “all her life” and says having her creativity sponsored by Tesco stocking her cards makes a “huge difference”.

“It makes a huge difference to me because I get to show people my art and what I do. It’s something I really enjoy and being able to share that with customers through Tesco is a great opportunity for me as a small business.”

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