AFTER six fun-filled years in the fashion industry, Alma Karanauskiene is, with a heavy heart, closing her shop in Skibbereen.
Alma who came to West Cork, 12 years ago, quickly made Skibbereen her home, having secured employment as a waitress at the West Cork Hotel.
It was love actually that brought her to West Cork: her boyfriend at the time, Jaunius, who is now her husband, had come over and was working locally.
‘At first I wasn’t sure because I come from a city in Lithuania. It was strange for me to live in a place where everyone knew one another and said “hello”.
‘But I quickly settled in: working in the West Cork Hotel is one sure way of getting to know all the locals. I did that for three years but, in 2012, I decided to open my own business in North St.
‘The idea just came to me, which surprised me because I had no previous experience in retail. All I had was a desire to run my own business.
‘I have always liked style and fashion in all its forms, but it never occurred to me that I could translate that into a business.
‘What amazed me was that everything slotted into place so easily, and I suppose that is just one indicator of how Skibbereen is a good place in which to do business.
‘It was easy to find a shop to rent and my landlord at the time, Vincent Hurley, was great. I had two good years there.’
In October 2014, Alma relocated to a prime retail site on Bridge St and found another good landlord in Daniel Collins.
She successfully traded there, selling ladies and children’s clothes as well as accessories, for the last four years, but with baby number three on the way, Alma said: ‘I decided to close the shop for now because I need to spend more time with my husband, my kids Leo and Danas, and baby number three who is due on November 9th.’
In one way, Alma said she is sad to be closing because the economy is picking up. And when she said ‘fun-filled’ she meant it because work, for her, ‘never felt like work.’
One day, she said she hopes to re-open but, for now, she would like to thank all of her customers, many of whom have become friends.