The Future of Rural Retail in Sligo

The Future of Retail in Rural Sligo

SARURE (Saving Rural Retail) South Sligo announces the first in a series of events for 2019 and 2020. All interested parties are welcome to attend the first evening in the Coach House Hotel in Ballymote on Wednesday, 13th November at 7.15pm.-8.30pm The event is free but registration is required, see or RSVP by texting 087-9045134 with your name and business name.


The guest speaker on the night is Jean McCabe from Willow Boutique, who will be joined for a panel discussion by Richard McCarthy from Richard McCarthy Photography and Marie O’Hara, Manager, Tubbercurry & District Credit Union. They will be discussing the retail industry in rural Ireland and Sligo and how they see the future of retail developing.

The guest speaker Jean McCabe has a spirit of adventure, which has underpinned her life and career story. Inspired by a world of possibility and unfazed by obstacles, she came an unconventional route to retail. Jean holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Limerick and at the age of 21 created the Willow brand and her first fashion retail store in Ennis. A second store in Galway and a successful on-line business later, she still maintains an infectious enthusiasm for the customer experience. Jean is former President of Ennis Chamber of Commerce, winner of Retail Excellence Store of the Year 2019 and Deputy-chair of Retail Excellence Ireland.

Ray O’Grady, Sligo County Council discusses the project’s background “The traditional model of high street retailing is under significant pressure in the modern age.  The rise of both on-line and out of centre discount retailing has created a much changed competitive environment. The pressure on the high street retail sector is being felt most acutely in rural areas of not just County Sligo but in similar such areas all over Europe.  In this context Sligo County Council has partnered with Local Authorities and Universities from across the continent to seek innovative solutions to the growing problem of the loss of vital retail services in our valuable rural communities. We look forward to this first event discussing the future of rural retail in Sligo”.

SARURE is an Interreg Europe project to which Sligo County Council is partnered.  It is an inter-regional cooperation project which is tasked with improving policies aimed at SME competitiveness.  The project is led by the Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services of Teruel (Spain) and we are joined by partners from Germany, Greece, Spain, Finland, Poland and Sweden.  The project is funded by the European Development Fund and will run from June 2019 until November of 2022. The project is led in Sligo County Council by Michael Carty and Ray O’Grady.


Jean Mc Cabe, owner of Willow Boutique, Ennis and Galway, photographed in the Ennis store. Photograph by John Kelly.