BUSINESS COSTS A CHALLENGE IN MITCHELSTOWN
Doing business in a recession is never easy; add to that high rents, rates and other charges and the outlook may indeed seem bleak. And, all these extra charges come before your customers even place an order, so what is the cost of doing busy in small rural town?
Many businesses around the country have closed once thriving shops and restaurants are now empty with the number of ‘property for lease’ or ‘for sale’ signs that are in place reflecting just how hard the small business community has been hit in recent times.
In Mitchelstown the number of available or empty premises is low but many businesses in the North Cork town are finding their day to day costs increasing steadily.
“While turnover has decreased, costs like rent and rates have remained the same,” Alan Reidy from Reidy’s SuperValu in Mitchelstown told The Avondhu.
“It’s all about being competitive, our customers want the best value for money and we work hard to get it for them. Over the past year deflation has also played a part in reducing costs and we are happy to pass these on to our customers but while prices have dropped costs still remain high.
"For example we here in Ireland pay one of the highest rates for electricity in Europe, gas prices have reduced but this cost has yet to be passed on to customers. Rates are still very high and the cost of insurance has also increased. For many smaller companies and businesses, margins are getting tighter and tighter,” Alan Reidy said.
RATES REDUCTION REQUIRED
For one young businesswoman who has recently taken over Murphy’s Jewellers at Lower Cork Street, doing business in Mitchelstown is proving to be a bit of challenge.
“I am delighted that I started my business in Mitchelstown but with the way the economy is at the moment it is a bit tough. While we work hard to give our customers the best value possible it is the fixed costs that make the difference and the rates charges are something that need to be reduced urgently,” Carla Walsh said.
Again and again the business community in Mitchelstown cite rate and rent costs as a major issue. It has also been claimed that rates charged in other towns in the area are different to those charged in Mitchelstown.
“While I can’t confirm this I have heard that rates for similar sized businesses in Fermoy for example are a lot less then in Mitchelstown,” one retailer, who does not wish to be identified, told The Avondhu.
The Avondhu has learned that rates charges in Fermoy were not increased in 2009 and that for 2010 the charges have been reduced by 2% for all commercial outlets in the town. One businessman who has recently set up in Mitchelstown is very happy with his decision to locate in North Cork.
“I have found the rents here very reasonable, just two hours up the road and rents are frightening. I have found Mitchelstown a very cost effective place to do business,” Mark Waldron of Mark’s Fruit & Veg told The Avondhu.
“I am only here in Mitchelstown for a few months now and everything is going well but I haven’t had a rates bill yet and I know from talking to other retailers here that the charges are very high, so that has yet to come,” Mark said.
A LOT TO OFFER
Eamonn O’Brien of Mitchelstown Business Association says that the town still has a lot to offer in terms of location for retail outlets.
“We are in the business of promoting Mitchelstown and, while we have a lot to offer, there are costs that are outside of our control. These costs such as rates are not uniform across the sector and can be different from town to town or indeed street to street.
"Rates need to be looked at by Cork County Council especially in these times of economic downturn. Also any person thinking of opening a businesses needs to be aware that they will be liable for any unpaid rates on the building before they start business,” Eamonn O’Brien said.
What are the business opportunities in Mitchelstown at the moment?
“There are currently only three premises available on the main street at the moment, which is a very good sign for the town. However, the sooner a tenant is found for the vacant 4HomeStore site the better. It will only help retailing in the town if a tenant moves into this prime outlet at the centre of the town,” Eamonn O’Brien concluded.
Thursday 11th February 5:38pm