Member Spotlight – Pat’s Pizza Kitchen

Member Spotlight – Pat’s Pizza Kitchen

Welcome to our new look Member’s Spotlight. Every week we will select one of our members and highlight their business and tell you a little something about them.

This week we will be taking a look at Pat’s Pizza Kitchen.

Founded in the summer of 2020, Pat’s Pizza Kitchen is an Aughrim based gourmet mobile pizza eatery.

Pat and Debbie serve authentic Italian pizza whilst also using the finest local produce, with a 24 hour dough fermentation process, topped with the finest cheeses and yes! – pineapple on the pizza (if desired). All cooked in a specialised 500 degree oven to ensure a crispy rich base and a cooking time of 90 seconds. The menu is varied to suit all tastes and they can cater for everyone from vegetarian to spicy pizza fans and of course meat lovers. Fresh salads, dips, sweet treats and drinks are also available. Catering services for larger events are also available – please see website for details.

Professional Chef and Artisan Pizza Specialist Pat Lalor has over 30 years of experience in the food and hospitality industry and Debbie Gartland is a marketing and events manager with over 25 years’ experience.
During the 2020 lockdowns Pat utilised Facebook Live to teach online cooking classes for free and helped to entertain and inform the local community all in his friendly witty style.

For more information or to order a pizza for yourself please go to https://www.patspizzakitchen.ie

Follow Pat’s Pizza Kitchen on social media
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/patchefic
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/patspizzakitchen/
Twitter https://twitter.com/pats_pizza2020?lang=en

Member Spotlight – King’s Gala

Member Spotlight – King’s Gala

Welcome to our first new look Member’s Spotlight. Every week we will select one of our members and highlight their business and tell you a little something about them.

First up is King’s Gala who have recently celebrated one year in business here in Wicklow Town.

King’s Gala opened their doors just over one year ago and what a year it’s been! Through ups and downs, trials and tribulations, restrictions and regulations – King’s Gala, like all of Wicklow Town’s fine businesses, weathered the storm and keep the lights on and the doors open. Open 24/7 we might add. King’s Gala never closes. So if you really need a pint of milk at 4am then look no further.

Marie, Siobhan and Elizabeth and all of the team always go the extra mile and the store looks amazing. With a mouthwatering hot and cold deli including pizzas, filled rolls and southern fried chicken, a wide range of healthy fresh salads, the award winning Country Kitchen Bakery – not to mention the gorgeous coffee. King’s Gala also have high speed diesel pumps, fuel cards, DCI & Truck Pump and Car Wash facilities.

Once again Congratulations on your first year and here’s to many many more

Follow King’s Gala on Facebook here https://www.facebook.com/galawicklow or check out their website at https://thekinggroup.ie/

Switch Your Mortage to AIB & Claim €2,000

Switch Your Mortage to AIB & Claim €2,000

Allied Irish Banks is offering a great deal to help in covering your mortgage or other costs – The lender is offering to pay €2,000 straight into any current account used to pay your mortgage (within 2 months), when you switch your mortgage to AIB. Even if that current account is with another bank.

If you do choose to have your current account with AIB however, the bank’s personal mortgage customers do not pay transaction or maintenance fees on their AIB current account when setting up a direct debit to pay a mortgage on the home they live in.

 

Why Switch to AIB?

Why would you want to go to all that effort of paperwork, solicitors, and banks? Well, it could mean substantial savings on your monthly repayments or even reducing the time left on your mortgage; which all means more money in your pocket.

You can talk to one of AIB’s Mortgage Experts about switching your mortgage. They can take you through the bank’s fixed and variable interest rates and work out exactly how much you could save by switching your mortgage to AIB.

Bear in mind though, your payments must be up to date and your mortgage needs to have some equity in it, which means the balance is less than the value of the house. If you have a tracker mortgage with another mortgage provider, you will lose it when you switch, which is important to consider before switching. We recommend that you also speak to an independent financial advisor before you make the switch.

AIB does offer an online Switcher Calculator to find out how much you could potentially save. There is also helpful, independent information about switching mortgages on the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s website.

 

How Do I Get Started?

Drop into your local AIB branch, or make an appointment on thier website, where you can speak with one of their Mortgage Experts.

You do not need any documents or a deposit saved to chat to an expert. The bank’s advisors will make sure you are on the right track by helping to plan to get your deposit and requisite paperwork together. If you cannot make it to a branch due to Covid-19 or other reasons, an AIB advisor can come to meet you.

Offices are Re-Opening – Here is what you Need to Know

Offices are Re-Opening – Here is what you Need to Know

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has published an updated Work Safely Protocol Guideline as thousands of employees are set to switch from remote or hybrid working arrangements to full time, in-office work over the coming weeks.

“The updated Work Safely Protocol reflects the most up to date public health advice and reinforces the public health measures that have kept workplaces safe throughout the pandemic, such as the need to maintain the requirement for physical distancing, the wearing of masks and ventilation. These measures remain critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19.” – Varadkar said in a press release accompanying the updated protocol.

 

20th of September – 22nd of October:

From September 20th, businesses can begin a phased and staggered return to workplaces for specific business requirements. The interpretation of this guidance will depend on the specific circumstances of each workplace, and should be informed by consultations with workers. This means that the return to workplaces must take place in a cautious and careful manner, considering the following…

  1. Appropriate attendance levels, cognisant of public health guidance as reflected in the Work Safely Protocol and associated checklists.
  2. Staggered working arrangements, such as non-fulltime attendance and flexible working hours.
  • Attendance, initially, must be for specific business requirements.

 

October 22nd Onwards:

As outlined in the state plan Reframing the Challenge: Continuing our Recovery and Reconnecting, assuming the benchmark of 90% of those aged 16 or over being vaccinated in the coming weeks, and having assessed the incidence and behaviour of the disease at the time – the Government will begin to remove further statutory restrictions from the 22nd of October.

 

What Impact will this Have on Employers and Workers?

The requirement to work from home will be removed, allowing a return to physical attendance in workplaces on a phased and cautious basis appropriate to each sector. The statutory regime in place to support the protection of public health will also be wound down in line with an agreed removal of restrictions.

Talks among the Government, trade unions and employer representatives will take place in advance of this change, under the guidelines of the Labour Employer Economic Forum. Where requirements for employers and workers will be discussed, considering the latest public health guidance and decisions.

The Government will also continue to implement Making Remote Work, Ireland’s National Remote Work Strategy which will support employers and employees in ensuring that, following the pandemic, remote working is a more prominent permanent feature in the Irish workplace in a way that maximises economic, social, and environmental benefits.

Offices are Re-Opening – Here is what you Need to Know

Hiring Advice from Storm Recruitment

Elaine Harding here from Storm Recruitment and today I want to give advice to companies out there currently struggling to hire. We are living in unprecedented times in Ireland now and there are certainly more jobs than candidates in the market right now. For the most part, companies have been on a hiring freeze for two years and lately, things have become chaotic. So, I wanted to pull from my 23 years of experience in the recruitment sector to offer 3 main tips to combat the excessive demand we are currently witnessing.

Start Your Recruitment Early:

I know this may sound obvious, but the importance cannot be understated in the current climate. If somebody is leaving, you need to give yourself extra time to replace that person – because it is going to take extra time and you will not fill the job immediately. It is going to be a trial-and-error situation, because now, most candidates have two to three interviews a week and they are getting offered two out of those three jobs. So, give yourself that extra time to try and find the right candidate. This is especially pertinent when you are hiring a replacement for a key team member.

 

Be Proactive When Applications Land:

When you receive an application from a promising candidate, do not wait for enough CVs to come in before scheduling a screening call or interview. If you see a good CV, jump on it, get the candidate to interview very, very quickly. As I mentioned, if you are waiting for all the candidates or CVs to come in by the time they do, the first candidate is gone. You need to, at the time, jump on those CVs as soon as you can and bring them forward to interview. This goes against the typical gauntlet structure of interviewing candidates one after the other, and although this is less efficient, it is essential accounting for the current, excessive level of demand.

 

Find New Sources of Competitive Advantage:

My third tip and this is mainly for SMEs, for whom competing with MNCs is quite difficult – salaries are going sky high, and if you are a small company trying to compete against a larger company, it is exceedingly difficult. So, just to give an example of what we do here in Storm, to compete as a small ten-person agency – We offer nice benefits like a day off on your birthday, extra time off at Christmas and flexible working times. We also finish at four on a Friday, for example. These are extra things that small companies can do if they cannot afford to match the salaries of larger companies. Compete with the little things that people value. Consider how you can improve work-life balance, or a day off for the top performers that month or a treat for somebody who has been the most improved.

There are many ways of attracting staff other than through base salary, and that certainly is true now, especially because most want to maintain that work life balance, especially after working from home for the last while. Trying out a hybrid working system, which a lot of companies are doing, even if it is just one day a week working from home, is another great option. That may not be possible for a lot of companies, but these are things which you will have to really explore if you want to start attracting candidates, especially if your company cannot compete on salary alone.

At Storm Recruitment, we recruit primarily for Dublin, Wicklow, and Wexford. However, we do also cover the whole of Ireland – so, if you would like any advice or if you are looking to hire, please do not hesitate to call us here. We cover all areas of the recruitment sector, including; Accountancy and Finance, Sales and Marketing, Warehouse and Industrial, Engineering and HR and Office Administration.

If you would like to speak to me directly, give me a call on 012557377, Extension 4. Or visit https://stormrecruitment.ie to learn more about our Agency and Services.

Offices are Re-Opening – Here is what you Need to Know

Covid-19 Updates

Pharmacy/Health

Wicklow business owners can avail of several supports as we continue to fight COVID-19. These supports include financial support schemes, rate waivers and tax measures – all of which can help if your business is unable to operate, your revenue has fallen due to C-19, or if you require financial support to help your business operate safely.

The Government supports and guidance continue to develop as the COVID-19 situation changes. You can get up to date information from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.

The Government’s Economic Recovery Plan for Ireland paints a roadmap toward resumption of economic activity and getting people back to work, as Ireland opens and recovers from COVID-19. Below you will find some business supports to note within the ERP.

Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme & Covid Restriction Support Scheme Extended Until 31 December 2021:

The CRSS gives qualifying businesses a cash payment of up to €5,000 a week. Which only applies when Level 3 or higher restrictions are in place.

You can apply to The Revenue Commissioners Office if your business premises are closed to customers or restricted in operating due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Businesses can claim an enhanced restart payment for 3 weeks, capped at €10,000 per week, to help with the costs of reopening as you exit the scheme.

With the EWSS you can get a flat-rate subsidy per employee, provided your turnover has fallen by 30%.

Business Resumption Support Scheme – Launching September 2021:

The BRSS will support vulnerable businesses with a single payment based on a percentage of your average weekly turnover for 2019, up to a maximum payment of €15,000.

You will be eligible if your turnover is reduced by 75% in the reference period (1 September 2020 to 31 August 2021) compared with 2019.

The Scheme will be administered by The Revenue Commissioners Office and will operate similarly to CRSS. You can apply here between 1 September 2021 and 30 November 2021.

COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme:

The COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme provides loans between €10,000 and €1 million, over a maximum of five and a half years. The size of the loan is linked to business turnover (25% of 2019 turnover) or wage costs (double annual wage bill in 2019).

COVID-19 Business Loans:

COVID-19 Business Loans up to €25,000 are available through Microfinance Ireland (MFI). With no repayments for the first 6 months and the equivalent 12 months interest-free subject to certain terms and conditions. The loan terms are typically up to 3 years and there are no fees or charges.

The loan is open to sole traders, partnerships, and limited companies with less than 10 full-time employees and an annual turnover of up to €2 million. You can apply through the MFI website or your Local Enterprise Office.

Trading Online Voucher Scheme:

A Trading Online Voucher Scheme worth up to €2,500 is available to help small and microenterprises get online. A second voucher of up to €2,500 is also available. Contact your Local Enterprise Office for more information and application details.

Enterprise Support Grant:

If you were getting the COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP), Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance and are reopening your business, you may qualify for the Enterprise Support Grant.

The grant, worth up to €1000, is aimed at sole traders who do not pay commercial rates and, therefore, do not qualify for the CRSS or similar restart grants.

To apply, download the COVID-19 ESG 1 application form and return it your local Intreo Centre.

Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme:

The AIS Provides a €3,000 payment for each new apprentice, to support employers to take on new apprenticeships until the end of 2021. You can get more information from Solas about how to apply.

Matt Forkin elected President of Wicklow Town & District Chamber of Commerce

Matt Forkin elected President of Wicklow Town & District Chamber of Commerce

Wicklow businessman Matt Forkin has been elected President of Wicklow Town and District Chamber of Commerce for 2021. 

Founder and Managing Director of REA Forkin Estate Agents, Matt has developed and expanded his business in Wicklow Town and Bray during the past 12 years.  A native of Wicklow Town, Matt attended De la Salle College and was also involved in a variety of local sports clubs including Wicklow Rugby Club, Wicklow Swimming Club and Blainroe Golf Club, where he is still an active member.

Matt has been a member of the Chamber of Commerce since 2013 and a member of the Chamber Council since 2016. He has served on numerous Chamber committees including the IT committee that developed the Wicklowtown.ie website that was launched in 2019.

New Ways of Doing Business

Addressing the Chamber’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 23rd March, Matt spoke of the stark realities faced by many businesses this year as they sought to adapt to the ever-changing Covid landscape but sounded a positive note as he highlighted the Chamber’s focus for the year ahead:

“Our goal remains to assist and support our members as we navigate the road to reopening our economy and uncover the new ways of doing business in an increasingly digital era, without losing the essence of what is truly local.”

Supporting Local Enterprise

Matt offered his thanks for the manner in which the people of Wicklow showed their support for local enterprise over the past twelve months, citing it as key to ensuring the long-term viability of the local business community.

“People really rowed in behind one another and it is great to see such positivity, community and sense of common purpose in challenging times like these.”

In closing the meeting, he also paid tribute to outgoing President, Rosie Cooney and the Chamber Council for their dedication over the past year and shared his gratitude for being entrusted with the Presidency stating he would continue to champion local business during a busy year ahead.

Customer Appreciation Weekend – December 5th & 6th

Customer Appreciation Weekend – December 5th & 6th

Customer Appreciation Weekend is almost upon us!

Following last year’s success we are delighted to announce the return of this initiative aimed to help promote local businesses while giving customers great savings!

Customer Appreciation Weekend is a 2 day event designed to reward loyal customers who have supported local businesses who have been badly affected by the lockdowns and restrictions. Following the numerous lockdowns many of our local retailers have had to endure, the Customer Appreciation Weekend also gives all retailers a perfect opportunity to maximise their retail potential this year and to encourage shoppers to Shop Locally this Christmas where social distancing can be much more easily practised than in larger urban areas.

How does it work? Participating retailers will have a Special Offer or discount on products for the weekend of December 5th &  6th. We will highlight and promote each participating retailer on our social media channels throughout this week with a final post on Friday with all.

This weekend is designed to benefit the customer and the retailer by maximising sales whilst also giving customers the savings they enjoy. At this time it’s crucial we all pull together and shop locally, support locally and keep our wonderful businesses open

Christmas Window Display 2020 Competition

Christmas Window Display 2020 Competition

We are delighted to announce the return of our popular Best Christmas Window Display competition!

This year Wicklow Municipal District is teaming up with Wicklow Town Team and the Wicklow Town & District Chamber of Commerce to make this year’s competition extra special.

As usual the winner and runner up of the contest will win a beautiful hamper but now we are also giving away not one, but two prizes to the public for getting involved!

1st prize : 75Euro Shop Local Voucher

2nd prize : 50Euro Shop Local Voucher

To be in with a chance of winning all you have to do is take a photo of your favourite Christmas display and post it on your social media pages with the hashtag #wicklowtown and the hashtag of the shop name (example #wicklowtown#thesportsroom). Please ensure your post is made public so we can see and share it.

You will then be entered into a raffle with a chance to win one of those amazing vouchers.

Winner to be announced on December 17th

Best of luck to everyone taking part and we can’t wait to see your amazing photos!