Donough McGillycuddy, 50th direct descendent of C.2nd King of Munster, Mogh Nuaghad, learned much about retailing while supplying petfood to the principal UK retail grocery multiples. There was nowhere better to practice a passion for excellence than behind the scenes at Tesco. An Old Etonian and former ‘Guards’ officer with a background seeped in Irish agriculture, Donough realised that the best way to get Ireland back on its feet was to get Irish consumable products moving to the 90 million alleged diaspora living overseas, for example 6 million people living in Britain have an Irish grandparent. Heritage, association with things Irish and quality appreciation are very Irish traits. The Irish miss Ireland even if they’ve never been there.

Leaning upon nostalgia and cultural emotion was not enough to raise the revenue that Ireland needs. If, however, five per cent of the diaspora were to spend €3 - €5 per week extra on an Irish product the Irish economy would benefit annually by €702m. Furthermore, if they spent €30 extra a week on Irish products, well you just add a nought!

But how to facilitate these exports? Donough, who gained a Diploma in Management Studies at Leicester and was runner-up in the British Airways-sponsored Institute of Sales and Marketing Awards, came up with the idea of creating an exclusive branded Irish export shop ‘Ballyclickhere’, Co. Tipperary. The McGillycuddy clan is cadet sept of the O’Sullivan Mór and so O’Sullivan’s Irish shop was born. Cashel, alias Ballyclickhere, is the most visited heritage site in Ireland, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II being one of its most recent visitors. In the middle of the town visitors and locals will soon find a very traditional Irish shop called Ó Súilleabháin (That’s how President O Bama lost the apostrophe!). The core of the grocery range is LOVE IRISH FOOD, a gathering of all that’s best in Irish food fare. Locals will soon come to learn that O’ Sullivan’s Irish shop is also the purveyor of everything from that first-in-the-morning fresh cup of Barry’s tea to a night cap of special Irish whiskeys such as Locke’s and O’Brien’s, both matured at Kilbeggan. Need an instant meal for unexpected visitors? Just ‘phone, order and pop in. Interior décor portrays a few of Ireland’s famous sights such as the dramatic Cliffs of Moher. Subtle background music evokes memories of those nights by the fire of an Irish pub and accordion music played to ballads handed down through the ages.

O’Sullivans Irish shop is also the model upon which franchise development is set to unroll firstly through Britain, then Europe and North America. Franchise Development Services (FDS) plan to open 100 such Irish shops, primarily purveying Irish produce, many based at the heart of Irish communities, during the next five years. Donough has typical Irish flair, charisma, professional attitude, imagination and foresight. In the office above O’Sullivan’s Irish shop a small team of dedicated staff will handle the online shopping aspect.

What you see, buy and pay for at the checkout is as easily purchased online throughout the world, so O’ Sullivan’s Irish shop opens the world’s markets to consumable Irish produce through a thrust never tried before. The franchisor, in harmony with FDS, enables people all over the world to run a truly Irish store of their own, backed with e-commerce. Multiply the average cost (£55,400) of a top fast food franchise by 100 outlets and you begin to see where the money is.

Donough is presently engaged on the periphery of the SPAR and Kerrygold operation in a remote part of South Africa while also growing broccoli for that supermarket. His prime need is a like-minded financial partner with the vision to appreciate the potential of this concept. There is a direct link between vision and potential. The binitial comment of Roy Seaman, MD and CFE of Franchise Development Services was: “Your idea, with the correct professional advice and guidance could be the greatest export business ever from Ireland. Simultaneously providing Irish manufacturing companies, of all sizes, with a method for exporting their products, and Irish people from around the world to own and operate a dedicated Irish retail business” Given that you have as much taste for financial return as for Ireland, this is one to follow.

Text provided by Donough McGillycuddy