LIMERICK City and County Council is to launch a business programme aimed at supporting retail in the city and county through the Covid-19 shutdown and its aftermath.
In partnership with the Limerick Local Enterprise Office and Limerick Chamber, the local authority is to offer a range of initiatives, including a ‘Shop Limerick’ online listing of Limerick businesses open for trading and help for those that don’t already have e-commerce retail capabilities.
Retailers are now being asked to declare their interest in the FREE Shop Limerick platform on Limerick.ie, which will be launched shortly and supported by a marketing campaign.
The move is in response to the crisis that many retailers now face after a first quarter that has already been decimated by Covid-19 restrictions and with the impact likely to continue well into the summer.
The Shop Limerick platform will be accompanied by digital marketing training and mentoring, including help and support on how to sell through established e-commerce platforms such as Shopify.
Local businesses who want to go online or to improve their online offering will be connected with local specialists and service providers who can provide that assistance.
Training will also be given on how to create short marketing videos, as well as social media boot camps and webinars for local businesses about cash flow management and how to get their business through Covid-19.
Announcing the initiative, Mayor of the City and County of Limerick Cllr Michael Sheahan said that it is further evidence of Limerick standing together at this extraordinary time.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for business, particularly for retail. For the vast bulk of them, their activity has come to a sudden halt and for those who are not already set up to sell online, this is devastating for their business. This is all about supporting local and supporting jobs.
“Limerick City and County Council, the LEO Limerick and Limerick Chamber are certainly showing great leadership in coming up with this initiative.
If we get sufficient interest from businesses in the city and county in it, many Limerick retailers will be going online for the first time and this will help them get through this crisis and take their business to new levels beyond that,” he said.
Said Dee Ryan, CEO, Limerick Chamber “Limerick retailers give our city, towns and villages their distinct personality, it’s crucial that we do everything we can to protect that.
“The Chamber is committed, in collaboration with the Council and Local Enterprise Office to make it easy for Limerick shoppers to keep the benefit of their spend local now when we need to more than ever.
“No one who wants to be involved will be left behind, we have loads of support to offer businesses so please sign up.” she added.
Ann O’Donnell retailer, O’Donnell boutique Catherine Street, added: “This initiative is a good example of our local leaders standing by local businesses in an unprecedented time. No one could have foreseen what has happened and to have the shutters pulled down, both practically and metaphorically, recently has been a huge financial shock but also very traumatic for local retailers.
“They are small businesses, have employees they care for, customers they care for and who have great loyalty to them and, in most instances, have families themselves.”
“Some of these businesses have e-commerce capabilities that bridge the gap somewhat but many independent traders don’t.
“This offer to create an online Shop Limerick platform that they can all trade on is fantastic and I would urge every business who needs this to jump at the chance.
“Not alone could it help them get through this very difficult time but it could have a very positive and lasting legacy.” she explained
Significant interest has also been shown by the private sector in providing support for this initiative to assist small retailers and the Council and its partners will acknowledge this support as the campaign is rolled out.