JC's Supermarket: For a North Dublin Institution, an Uncertain Future


JC’s in Swords is Ireland’s largest independent supermarket, a much-loved north Dublin institution. But it’s besieged by budget competitors like Lidl, which has literally moved in next door.

Recently, JC’s laid off 20 long-term employees. In this podcast, Lorcan Archer sits down with the boss, Michael Savage, to ask why, and what the future holds for the company.

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Reader responses

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Peter
at 20 April 2016 at 08:24

Great report Lorcan.
JC a real gent. V much missed.

Best wishes for Barry and the team.

Peter

Laura Cahill
at 20 April 2016 at 10:02

I LOVE JC’s. There are so many things that JC’s do that nobody else can do. Their Easter Eggs at Christmas being one of them. They have been doing it for YEARS. I love hearing Barry’s voice coming across the tannoy saying “Get your Easter Eggs. There is only one pallet of each so once they are gone they are gone.” Really makes it feel like Christmas. I especially love giving them as presents and confusing younger kids.

Their wine section is great too. Where else would you get top class wines in plastic bottles that are ex-business class stock from some airline being sold at €7-€8. My parents adore their JC’s own sliced cheese.

There selection of “non-grocery” items gets better and better. They are more like a mini-hypermarché than a supermarket. They were the only place in Dublin one summer who had a stock of swimming pools (we will know which summer that was). They would tell people the day before they were going to be and it was then a race to get there to get a pool and they were inexpensive too!!!!!! Everywhere else seemed to put the pool prices up but JC’s kept theirs low. I think the unicycle was one the more stranger things I seen out there for sale.

Really hope they keep going and going. Love driving from home (past 2 Dunnes, 2 SuperValus, 3 Tescos and countless Aldis and Lidls) to JCs as you never know what you are going to come out with even if are only going for some ham and crisps. LOL

Micheal
at 20 April 2016 at 12:38

Jcs like tescios buy most of their stock from the UK, constantly they have stock with the pound sterling signs on them
Support your own, when JCs do I will

Tom
at 4 May 2016 at 10:12

I have shopped for many years in JCs. Unfortunately however in recent years (in my opinion) the JCs shopping experience has seriously deteriorated for reasons including:
* Aisles constantly obstructed with stock items, large stock trolleys and staff stocking shelves. This occurs every day.
* Many check outs closed and blocked with stacked items, resulting in large checkout queues at peak times.
* Increasing lack of consistency and flow with similar goods shelved in different parts of the supermarket.
* At weekends and particularly Sundays the store is poorly stocked, eg Breads etc.
* JCs looks cluttered and disorganised. For example presently shoulders of lamb are being sold in the vegie section. Other meats are sold at various areas in the store.
JCs cannot decide what type of store it wants to be. It’s trying to be all thing to all people but not succeeding.
Fundamentally the store lacks clear management and direction. Consultants should be brought in to give the store management some guidance as to future focus.
On a positive note parking space is good ( the only reason I continue to shop there) and staff are courteous, helpful and generally friendly.
Finally JCs could take a leaf from Supervalu in the Pavilions SC which is beautiful store where shopping is a pleasurable experience.

Paul
at 25 May 2016 at 10:17

JC’s is a real throwback style of store, it has a real friendly family feel to it. We do the bulk of our shopping there, and only go to one the supermarket chains if we’re stuck. The staff are so helpful and friendly, and there’s always an unexpected bargain to be found. Their homemade pizzas are amazing and so cheap. The wine selection is vast and tremendous value for money. If you haven’t been I’d suggest you pop in some day. It’s worth going there just for Barry’s hilarious tannoy announcements.

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