Mulkerns stores make prestigious Top 100 independent retailers list

Mulkerns stores make prestigious Top 100 independent retailers list

County Down retailers, Mulkerns are celebrating after both their stores were named in the Top 100 independent retailers list.

Mulkerns Eurospar Cloughoge and Mulkerns Spar in Jonesborough were the only Northern Ireland stores to make the Independent Achievers Academy (IAA) 2022-2023 Top 100.

The annual list is made up of local news and convenience retailers aspiring for success and is decided by Newtrade Media’s team and follows rigorous, independent assessments to see who qualifies for this widely-respected and much-desired badge of success.

Terry Mulkerns told Neighbourhood Retailer the whole team and staff were delighted.

“We have done the application in the past and it’s always nice to get that recognition,” said Terry.

Retailer Terry Mulkerns.

“It’s quite a lengthy application which probes all areas of the business. I think it’s important for my junior managers to complete it as it’s also a learning process for them. It enables them to also discover more about the business growth over the past year and the changes made to achieve that growth.”

The Mulkerns Eurospar store is based on Forkhill Road, just outside Newry city, while Mulkerns Spar is based in the South Armagh village of Jonesborough.

The Mulkerns brand was established in 1976 by Paul Mulkerns and was one of the first stores to offer much-needed convenience to the community and has been supplying fresh foods and quality services for almost 50 years.

Having been founded in the village of Newtowncloughoge, the business outgrew its first premises, and a new supermarket, filling station and Post Office was constructed at its current location on the Forkhill Road in 1994.

It has continued to enjoy development and expansion and since its relocation has grown into a complete shopping experience, with a deli, butchery, off sales, in-store florist by O’Neill’s Flowers and in-store bakery by The Corn Dolly.

Terry added that while the awards are “always a nice recognition” it was also important for the staff.

“It’s about the work the staff put in and it’s the reward for what we do day-to-day,” he said.

“But ultimately, it’s about the customer experience – you have to be consistent in that every day, and then the awards should be easy.”

The independent assessments carried out as part of the IAA research includes a mystery shop and audit to assess customer experience, ease of shop, breadth of range, merchandising standards, availability levels and innovation.

The process also includes retailer interviews to evaluate the strength of processes in place in attracting customers, adhering to legislation, developing staff and operating sustainably.

Further assessments include a digital review to understand how many consumers are being reached, engagement levels with customers and the impact of each store’s online presence.