There was great excitement as staff at The Creamery Shop in Maudabawn watched the till ticking ever closer to the million mark until Michael O’Hare popped in to do some shopping and became that 'one in a million. Pictured: Roseanna Fitzpatrick, Michael O’Hare receiving a presentation from Patrick McCabe (general manager).

Maudabawn shop serves its one millionth customer

The ever reliable till at a shop in Maudabawn clocked up its one millionth customer in recent weeks.

When Michael O'Hare entered the The Creamery Shop at 3pm on Friday, August 28, little did he realise it would be such an auspicious occasion. That it was Michael who should be the one millionth customer was fitting as his father had worked a lifetime at the site when it was a creamery, taking in the milk from farmers.

Rosanne Fitzpatrick looks after the daily running of the petite shop and would know many of the 300 or so customers who come and go daily by name.

“It is a community shop and is based in the original creamery building, where the milk was taken in from cans and tanks,” explained Manager Patrick McCabe.

“It was idle for a couple of years and we took the initiative of opening up a small grocery shop for the convenience of the community. It has proved to be a great success and is a great meeting point."

The million customers stands as proof of that success - a figure established by the seemingly bullet-proof shop till.

“The till kept tabs on every transaction which had a number attached. It is also worth noting that the till kept going without any hitches and now it has been opened and shut over one million times.”

Open daily from 8.30am to 8pm, with a filling station attached the convenience shop is one of those community hubs that's sadly harder to find in rural Ireland.

“It is a one stop location, whether you are looking for nails, a cylinder of gas or a loaf,” says Patrick. “There is also a hardware shop and a place for fertiliser, feedstuffs, sand and cement across the road.”

With Covid-19 restrictions what they are, only one person is allowed into the shop at a time, yet it's probably more important than ever before.

“There are people in this area who live in long lanes and they they would not see anyone from morning to night and they could often come to the shop two or three times a day just to meet people and have the craic. They might not always need to come to the shop for very much, but it is an outlet to meet people.

“It is run for the community and that is why it is such a success – it does not have to make a profit.

Around 1978 there were 420 farmers supplying the Co-Op with milk and the queue of carts and horses and tractors would stretch for hundreds of yards over the road. By 1990 the number of suppliers had slumped to 151. Today it has approximately 63 suppliers and yet with intensive techniques and larger farms, they are supplying more milk than before.