Clonmel shopkeeper Frank O’Keeffe retires with happy memories

Frank OKeeffe and his wife Sheila, who have retired after 28 years as owners of The Crescent store in Clonmel. The shop re-opened on Tuesday under new owner Keith Matthews, whos originally from Kilsheelan.
A shopkeeper who was one of the first in Munster to sell breakfast rolls has retired.

A shopkeeper who was one of the first in Munster to sell breakfast rolls has retired.

Frank O’Keeffe closed the doors of The Crescent store last Monday after 28 years in business and the shop re-opened on Tuesday under new owner Keith Matthews.

The shop, a familiar landmark in Clonmel on the corner on Kickham Street and Thomas Street, was operated by Frank and his wife Sheila since October 1986.

“My late aunt Kitty, who was retiring at that time asked if I’d be interested in buying the shop and I immediately said yes. From day one I knew that retailing was for me and I never regretted one day of being in business”, he says.

Clonmelman Frank had started his working life as a 16 year-old apprentice compositor, or printer, with The Sporting Press, where he spent ten years before working for another decade in the same job at The Nationalist.

The shop that he inherited from his aunt was extended and also includes a bakery.

“We’re proud to say that we were one of the first establishments in Munster to sell breakfast rolls about 15 years ago. We had many memorable events such as celebrating our 20th anniversary with the staff at Hotel Minella, the weddings of different staff members and outings with the staff.

I made many friends over the years, including the teachers and staff of the High School and Ss Peter and Paul’s primary school, and we had great neighbours and many loyal customers. The schoolchildren kept me young and kept me going through the years. From the day I took over we had great staff and it was a pleasure to work with them. The customers always appreciated their courtesy too”.

He said that his long career in business wouldn’t have been possible without his wife Sheila - “it was always a team effort between us”.

He said that the retail world had changed dramatically and he was confident that the business would continue to thrive and prosper under the fresh approach of Keith Matthews, who’s originally from Kilsheelan.

“We can look back on our 28 years with great pride, satisfaction and fond memories”.

Frank and Sheila have three daughters - Gillian, Jean Anne and Laura, who he said had grown up working in the shop at weekends.

The couple’s immediate plans include a trip to Singapore in the New Year to visit Gillian, her husband Derek and their children Hayley, Jenna and Matthew.