The Advertiser spoke this week with Dan O’Connor of Brona Chocolates.
I bumped into him while he was restocking his stand in Spar Market Street with delicious chocolate bars. For those of you who don’t know, Brona Chocolates is produced in Kilmorna, a couple of miles outside Listowel.
After the usual light hearted banter I asked Dan to sit down with me for a couple of minutes. He was more than happy to join me for a quick coffee break. I was very curious to find out more about this locally produced chocolate. I was also interested to find out how other local businesses were coping in these strange times.
When asked how the current pandemic was affecting him he replied: “The story could be worse, however we are very dependant on tourist shops, many of which will not open this year and many more who will be seriously challenged to survive.“
North Kerry has always been very good to support local, so I aksed Dan if this has been the case for him: “Since the beginning of the lockdown we have been overwhelmed by the amount of local support we’ve received. People have been buying for themselves and were also buying Irish made gifts for their friends and family at home and abroad. It won’t replace our normal sales but it might be enough to keep the lights on and is very much appreciated.“
With current cases of Covid 19 stabilising I asked if he sees the light at the end of the tunnel getting any brighter: “I really hope so, we are keeping our fingers and toes firmly crossed. However, going forward I think other sectors of the economy need to start acting as responsibly as the majority of the public have. One of my customers, a restaurant in south Kerry was all set to open with a new menu amended for the Irish market, but her insurance company wanted her to pay a full years insurance for operating for 3 months. This is obviously unfair and very demoralising for business owners.”
“All that said I’ve traveled all of the main tourist routes over the last fortnight and there seems to be a lot of Irish tourists around, if this continues into the autumn it will be a big help to my customers.“
I’d like to thank Dan for the chat and his insight into what is happening in other sectors of the economy at the moment.
I’d also like to thank him for the selection of gorgeous chocolate bars he gave me as he left!! I cannot recommend them enough!
We wish Dan all the best with his delicious local produce.
Dan is pictured stocking Spar Market Street this week.