By Donogh Moore
Willie & Anne Divilly started their business life in Ballinasloe in 1955, when they opened a grocery store in a rented shop in Dunlo Street. Anne Geraghty was a Ballinasloe native, sister of well-known Councillor Patsy Geraghty, and their other sister Margaret was a talented local seamstress. Willie and Anne were 11 years in the rented shop, when the opportunity arose to purchase O’Connor’s Bar and Grocery across the road in Dunlo Street. They opened the first supermarket in Ballinasloe, and joined the Niland group trading as VG for many years before becoming independent and trading as Divillys.
When her husband passed away in 1984, Anne, with the support of her four children Mairead, Dominic, Aine and Regina, continued to run the business. In response to the advent of home drinking, the family took the decision to change to trading as an independent Off Licence. In 2009, they joined the Carryout Group and the business continued to prosper with the support of many loyal customers.
The Carryout Franchise is owned by The Barry Group from Cork and has over 100 stores nationwide. They provide a pricing structure to help compete with the multiples, and have an excellent marketing service and nationwide presence. Celebrating the shop’s 10 year anniversary will be Carryout Brand Ambassador Brent Pope, who will be in store on Thursday 15th August from 5pm to 7pm, with lots of specials on the day.
Nowadays, the business is run by Regina Divilly, who is ably assisted by Michael Keighery and June Hurley, as well as Kathy Walsh. Regina took over the running of the shop when her mother passed away in 2004. She said: “I was part of the ‘Yes Equality Ballinasloe’ team who campaigned for and secured a Yes Vote for Marriage Equality in the area in 2015. I came out as gay to the community during the campaign and they offered me nothing but support throughout that emotional time”.
"Ballinasloe has gone through very tough times, losing three major factories and a hospital. The Celtic Tiger passed the town on its way to the cities. However, we’ve managed to recover and its asset is its huge community spirit. I am proud to call myself a local woman and I love my town.”
Over the years the Divilly family had many loyal customers and generations of townspeople have walked through the doors. Regina continued: “My mother’s mantra to us was 'keep the door open', and the door has stayed open now for 64 years!”
The Divillys have had great staff down through the years, but none so loyal as Michael Keighery, who has been with the family business since he left school. Michael was a great support to Anne, after the death of her husband and to Regina since Anne passed away in 2004. Regina believes that Ballinasloe has huge potential, “It’s in the centre of Ireland and has great road and rail links. It’s a great place to live and bring up children. The town has great schools, sporting facilities, cultural and community groups” states Regina.
The business is open from Monday to Saturday, 10.30am to 10pm, and Sunday 12.30 to 10pm. They offer a huge range of Beers, Ciders, Wines and Spirits, and specialise in International and craft Beers and high end Wines. For more information, as well as online competitions, find them on Facebook at: Carryout Ballinasloe.
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