Rochfort’s Superstore in Mullingar, owned by the cheerful Nally Family is now in its 51st year.
Rochfort’s is a well known landmark for people of all ages, not least for the best 99s ice-cream and pizzas, but for their general friendliness and helpfulness towards all who come through their doors. Rochfort’s motto is “If we haven’t got it, you don’t need it.”
1. When was the business established and were any previous generations involved?
Back in 1970, Tommy Nally Snr. purchased the tiny premises on Dominick Street with his wife Sheila. Tommy bought out the lease from his Aunt, his mother’s sister, Katie Mahon.
2. Did the family live in Mullingar for many years / where did they come from?
Tommy and his wife Sheila come from the Rathconrath area. Before owning Rochforts, Tommy spent a number of years managing Gunning’s in Rathconrath and before that, he worked in Dinny Daly’s wholesale retail store, where Dealz is now situated. They moved into Mullingar town in 1970.
3. Who are the family members working in the business now?
Sister and brother, Avril and Tomas (Jnr) work in the shop now and Tommy (Snr) keeps an eye on things. “Our whole family grew up here. When I was 18, I went to college to do Commerce in Galway and when I got back, I got stuck into the shop and did up upstairs” explained Tomas, who also studied nursing. “My sisters and I all grew up in the shop and worked in it every Saturday and Sunday.”
4. What does the business do?
Apart from having the best 99 cones in Ireland, Rochfort’s also sell pizzas, groceries, toys, gifts, greeting cards and souvenirs as well as having a dedicated section of the shop that sells musical instruments.
5. How has the business changed over the years?
The shop structure has changed with counters at various different places. Tomas tells us “we have never been afraid to change anything that wasn’t working; I’m fairly good at visualising things and planning for the future.” Staff of course have also changed; “we once had a staff of 20 here not too long ago but have since reduced to 12 staff these days”, says Tomas.
6. Plans for the future?
Tomas tells us “we are always trying to expand and do new things and be creative. If you stop at all, you’re left behind. We pride ourselves on having everything that people need and being a ‘one stop shop’. We have great plans for the months ahead but will still offer a friendly, personalised service no matter what changes come along.
7. Any memorable moments through the years?
‘We’ve had many memorable times through the years, having two major lotto winners and lots of Winning Streak scratch card winners. Of course the 50th anniversary celebrations were a great milestone as well,” Tomas reminisces.
8. In what way do you think your family business adds something special to Mullingar?
“For us, the biggest thing is that people continue to go to their local shop and even if they don’t have the item they want in stock, order if from the shop – don’t buy it online, because if you buy it online, you provide nothing for your community,” Tomas adds. People have been very good to us, coming in down through the years and we try and be nice to them and hopefully most people think we provide a good service – that’s why they keep coming back.
9. Pros and Cons of working with family in a business?
There are no real major issues, Tomas tells us. “We disagree like any family, but we never fall out; we all get on great actually.”
10. The last word:
Tomas and all at Rochforts would like to thank their customers for their continued support these past 51 years and they are grateful to everyone who shops with them. They have exciting plans for the future and the only clue we got is that it has to do with ice-cream! Watch this space!