'We started to get call after call as events began to be cancelled' - Brendan Moloney of formalwear business Bond Brothers

As Ireland deals with the fallout of Covid-19, we talk to businesses about how they are coping.

By Laura Roddy Reporter, Fora
We want to know about how your business is dealing with the outbreak. Drop us a line at news@fora.ie 

BRENDAN MOLONEY FEELS lucky he didn’t sign a second shop lease for his men’s formalwear business. The owner of Bond Brothers, based in Goatstown, decided to pull the plug when events were being cancelled last week because of Covid-19. 

“Last Monday or Tuesday we were trying to finalise the last few bits but obviously this happened. The way it’s worked out, I’m lucky I didn’t sign it,” he told Fora when we called him on Wednesday morning.

Moloney said two weeks ago customers were beginning to air uncertainties over whether certain events would go ahead or not because of the virus, but he was remaining optimistic. “I didn’t think it was going to be as bad,” he explained.

Once corporate events started to be cancelled, it had a major impact on the business. 

“We started to get phone call after phone call to say black-tie events had started to be cancelled, ” he said.

“There were a few different events on last week and it was worth a fair bit of money to the business,” he said. 

After Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s Thursday announcement asking for gatherings of over 100 people not to go ahead, weddings and funerals were cancelled – which provide a lot of business for the shop.

“From Wednesday and Thursday it started to get a bit more serious… There was barely anyone coming through the doors and people just ringing up (to cancel),” he said. “All our revenue is being hit.”

Moloney remains optimistic – saying there have been people in to book suits for weddings scheduled in August and September of this year. He also intends to open up his second store once events start to get up and running again.

“We are going to keep the place open and we are going to keep things going. I am lucky that I am in a strong position and I had a strong year last year and February was a good month,” he said.

“The next few weeks are going to be really difficult but I am going to have to keep the cashflow in a good position,” he added. 

Moloney bought the shop over two years ago after managing it since 2014 and said it had been growing. 

[embed id="embed_2"]

“It has been in business about 14 years and we’ve gone from strength to strength. We’ve won national awards – we’ve won Irish Independent men retailer of the year,” he said.

“We are in Goatstown so we are tucked away in the grand scheme of things, we don’t get any footfall, all our custom comes from word of mouth,” he explained. 

He said the coming year was gearing up to be a big one. Despite the impact of the virus, he said he would keep “plugging away and stay positive – which is important for people”.

Get our Daily Briefing with the morning’s most important headlines for innovative Irish businesses.