Continuing a family legacy
The Lennox Street Grocer is the brainchild of Arnold siblings Claire and Christopher, who opened their business during lockdown in November 2020.
Having spent a combined 20+ years working in different areas of food and drink around the world and at home here in Ireland, the brother and sister pair had for a long time discussed setting up their own business together.
In 2020, they both felt ready to partner up and work for themselves. While their initial thoughts centered around opening a restaurant, they saw an opportunity in the grocery space and decided to open their shop. Thus Lennox Street Grocer was born, as they set out to bring their expertise and love of food to Portobello.
“We noticed people were treating themselves a lot more during the pandemic so we started gearing our shop towards a more high-end, unique experience”, explains Chris.
Today, the shop offers a carefully curated range of produce, wine and ingredients, sourced from quality suppliers around Ireland and Europe.
Learning to do business as a new business
While the shop has already seen great success in its first year, Chris noted that getting set up did have it’s challenges. This included navigating different regulations, prioritising their workload as a small team and ensuring that they were putting their energy into the right areas.
“Taking breaks can be difficult when you’re running your own business. There’s always something to do and every task always takes longer than expected. Time management can be tricky and staying motivated while working through these challenges can be tough. Looking back, I’d recommend to people starting off a business to really prioritize staffing, surround yourself with the right team and learn to manage your time.”
Despite the long hours and the challenges of setting up, Chris shared view on working with family, and how big a difference it’s made in the positive year they’ve had.
“Working with your family means you can be more open and honest with one another. It’s a supportive environment - overall the support from our family has been key.”
The Portobello community, also, has been very supportive of the budding business. Building a rapport with customers and asking them for honest feedback is essential, Chris explained, in order to better help cater to their needs.
Switching to Square
Originally taking payments with a different platform, Lennox Street Grocer was one of the first businesses to join Square during our early access program in April 2021.
“We had issues with our Shopify reader and we were scanning barcodes with the phone or having to manually create SKUs. The set up with Square is as simple as it gets, and taking card payments is very quick. Setting up the website was also very straightforward!”
Chris also notes how Square has freed up a lot of time as it allowed them to focus on the general running and growing the business, making it more sustainable.
“Square takes a lot of jobs and headaches out of the process. Real time analytics are great for making business decisions and help you plan your time and divert your energy to what’s selling and what’s not.”
Looking to the future
As they celebrate their first year of being open for business, during a particularly difficult year as well, Chris and Claire are looking forward to taking the Grocer a step further.
“We’re excited to grow our offering online, and now that restrictions have eased, we’re also looking forward to setting up food and wine events, such as wine tasting and more sit-in food tours, for people to discover our products”.
To find out more about Lennox Street Grocer, chat with them about recipe ideas and taste some of the lovely food they have on offer, pop by the shop on 38 Lennox Street, Dublin or visit their website or Instagram.