On July 1, Boots opened a store on the west coast of Ireland in the fast-growing suburb of Knocknacarra in County Galway. The new store is part of Boots plan to invest in growth and expansion around the country. It means that there are now three Boots stores in County Galway and 89 in total across the Republic of Ireland.
The store has employed 16 locals and is offering a wide range of beauty, health and wellness products. Customers will have access to various pharmacy services, including prescription services, blood pressure monitoring, travel vaccinations and hearing care.
David Boyce, Knocknacarra’s store manager, could not wait to welcome his community into the new store. “We are delighted to open the doors,” he says. “The store will provide local residents with access to our wide range of pharmacy services and health and beauty products, including many brands they may not be able to buy in shops elsewhere.”
Boyce started working for Boots in 2003 and has worked in five different stores across the county. He left in 2018, but returned this year because he wanted to work for a company that puts customers at the heart of its business – a notion that’s synonymous with Boots.
WBA Stories sat down with Boyce to learn more about his love for his company and his community, his thoughts on the future of the high street and what he’s heard from his customers so far.
What do you like most about working for Boots?
“What really stands out for me is how we are always evolving and adapting to our customers’ needs. Customers are very much at the center of what we do, and that's extremely evident when you go into any Boots store. Once your shift is over you feel a great sense of satisfaction because you know that every day customers have left your store feeling uplifted, pleased and excited even.
“Also, I believe as managers, we are shown great trust and confidence. It is understood that each store has different needs and there is enough flexibility to allow you to run your store the best way possible for your customers, without compromising the Boots brand.”
Why is having Boots in the community so important?
“I feel having Boots in the heart of the community has always been important, but never as much as it is now. People know they can come to our store and shop in a friendly and safe environment. There’s an evident trust that has been built over years of great service.”
Why is there still a need for stores like Boots even as the high street is shrinking?
“Currently, the high street is a challenging environment. However, not all shops in every high street are going to disappear; the ones people rely on will remain, and Boots is one of these. Boots has a long history and heritage, and that really resonates with our customers. In us, people know they can shop with confidence.”
What role does a Boots pharmacist play in a community like Knocknacarra?
“Our pharmacists are integral to the Knocknacarra community. Deirdre Cashell and Nick LaHart are both from Galway, which really adds to the local feel we want to create. Health issues are very personal, and people like to feel understood when they share their concerns and worries. This is what Boots pharmacists are so good at, particularly Deidre and Nick. They also offer a wide range of services and play a key role in liaising with other healthcare professionals in the area, including the University Hospital Galway and other healthcare practices.”
You've been open for a few weeks now. Has the community been receptive?
“The feedback has been amazing. Since the day we opened, customers have been very complimentary about the store’s look and feel.
“We have had quite a few customers tell us that our store is the first shop they have entered since the COVID-19 lockdown began in March. Many people feel trepidation about leaving their homes, but one shopper went out of her way to let me know how at ease she was made to feel by my colleagues. We are fortunate as the store is an impressive 478m2 (5,000+ square feet) in size, so people have been able to shop comfortably while adhering to the social distancing guidelines that are in place.
“It feels like the new store has been a great way of raising our community’s spirits – which is exactly what Boots is for and why it is here to stay.”
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