Cllr wants Council to purchase Atkins’ building in Clonakilty

April 29th, 2023 5:50 PM

By Jackie Keogh

The well-known Atkins is due to close in Clonakilty.

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A LOCAL councillor is calling on Cork County Council to consider purchasing a large town centre lot that is due to come on the market in Clonakilty.

Cllr Paul Hayes (Ind) told The Southern Star that it was with ‘shock and sadness’ he heard that the Atkins DIY store in Clonakilty is to be sold.

‘It was an integral part of Clonakilty’s business community,’ he said. ‘Clearly, this will mean job losses and my thoughts are with the staff, many of whom have worked there all their adult lives.

‘The loss of Atkins could take a huge chunk out of the retail landscape of the town centre,’ said the councillor, who expressed the hope that the owner will find a buyer for the large building and yard in the centre of the town at Astna Square.

‘It is my hope that there would be people interested in purchasing it with a view to breathing new life into that retail space,’ he said. ‘Alternatively, I’d like to see the building used for an imaginative new project.’

The independent councillor also pointed out that the sizeable yard at Atkins could be utilised by the local authority to provide additional parking, or as a site for new houses.

‘A town centre space doesn’t come up too often,’ said Cllr Hayes, ‘it’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity.’

Atkins, which deals in home, garden, DIY and building goods, has not yet officially come on the market.

The business has a long and proud history in the town, having initially been formed in 1876.

Atkins DIY, as it is now known, was established in July 1996 and was purchased by way of a management buy-out by Sandra Stanley and Stuart McDonald in 2011.

A clipping from The Southern Star, dated 11th September 1915, recorded some of the company’s history. 

It stated: ‘Messrs John Atkins and Co has recently erected a very fine premises in Boyle Street, covering several thousand square feet of surface. The new premises is for the purpose of storing seed, manures, and agricultural implements, which Messrs Atkins now do perhaps a bigger trade than any concern in this country. A special feature of their business, which we note with pleasure is a growing one, is the section devoted to furniture, which is now entirely manufactured on their own premises. 

‘Messrs Atkins sell almost everything, from a needle to an anchor, and it is significant of the esteem in which the firm is held that the only fault we ever heard alleged against it is that the public patronage is so great that their large and excellent staff are often unable to cope with the heavy rush of business.’

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