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shoptalking Digging deeper

Ann Whelan

owner, Joe Whelans My Dad set up a furniture shop in 1954 and continued to grow his business with fancy goods, gifts and toys. He was the first man in Tipperary to ‘Bring Santa to Town’ and this tradition still continues every year on the 8th December. We are based in the heart of Tipperary Town (and we’re not a long way). Tipperary is a small town with a population of 4,500, with two major towns at either side of us, Clonmel and Limerick. But fortunately the hinterland of Tipperary is involved in farming – so that’s good for us. If the farmers are happy, we’re happy, as they will spend. Business is going well at the moment.

Price is having the biggest impact on our business right now – people are spending, but are looking for bargains and value. We stock all brands – sometimes we stock too much – including outdoor toys, bikes, tractors, swings and slides, art and craft and balloon décor, too. We run a Christmas Club so this keeps us busy. Doc McStuffins, Monster High and Furby are all performing well for us. Board games and jigsaws are always good sellers at this time of year for stocking fillers. We do so much with the Christmas Club; we try and go an extra bit for our customers with assembling bikes

and tractors, kitchens, etc. We also deliver to their homes (within reason). I think big sellers – if only we could get them – will be the likes of Teksta the Dog and Flutterbye Fairies, but Lego and Siku, Britains and One Direction are all big sellers for us. We only use Facebook at the moment and

we find that this works to our advantage as we can advertise what we like on it, and we advertise weekly on our local radio that has a good listenership. I’ll be trying to keep my head on for the next few weeks. We have our open day on

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the 8th of December to say thank you to our customers for their custom throughout the year and hope to see them all again in 2014. We will be running fun days every Saturday for the month of January, and through February will continue to run competitions in relation to Valentine’s day and Mother’s day, our Easter Hunt and not forgetting Father’s day, and that nearly brings us up to half the year – and then it’s planning for the Harrogate May show and Christmas. Happy Christmas to everyone and hope their tills keep ringing.

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Toy World’s Kayleigh Conway speaks to independent retailers about the hot topics of the month. This month, our experts tell us a bit more about themselves, how their businesses are faring in the run-up to Christmas and what they’re looking forward to in 2014.

* Actual game footage

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