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Irish retail group unveils new tour map to promote independents

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Health Stores Ireland has unveiled a new store finder and tour guide in a bid to highlight the country’s independent health shops.

Ireland has more than 200 independent health foods stores that operate in almost every town centre and shopping mall in the country and Health Stores Ireland decided to
acknowledge their interconnectivity, while also celebrating their individualism by producing a traditional touring map.

Each store owner has made a recommendation of something alternative to see and do within their own location and the map highlights a wide range of places of interest, some well-known attractions, and some hidden gems. The maps are available from independent health food stores from mid-April onwards.

The idea of the touring map was born out of a succession of summers where retailers found from conversations with customers that there was a trend toward holidaying close to home.

Mary Wedel, owner of An Tobarín, Bandon, explained: “We get great joy in recommending one of our fellow independent retailers to our staycationing customers and we look forward to their feedback when they return, often with well wishes from our friends on another part of the island. Acknowledging the changing trends in holiday habits and channelling this into a useful document was our challenge.”

Health Stores Ireland teamed up with eco design and print company, The Factory, based near Birr, and modelled the project on traditional touring maps from the past. Erica Murray, from the project sub-committee, added: “Using the concept of the traditional and sometimes frustratingly difficult to fold touring map might seem a questionable decision, but we loved the association with throwback family outings of the past.”

In a nod to the future, each store is listed with a locator Eirode, which will take users to their door when entered into Google maps or another sat nav app.

Almost all the information contained on the map, including the store front images, was crowd sourced and the organisation explains that the project demonstrates the
principle of individuals working as a collective can produce something that well exceeds the sum of its parts. The map is part funded by partners, which are acknowledged on the finished document and is part of a ringfenced sectoral marketing fund divested by the group each year to
promote the independent sector.

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