There's something for everyone at the newly opened XL service station in Blacklion, including a bakery and 36 seat café called Route 16, XL’s exclusive IScream concept, breakfast rolls and good coffee in what owner and director, Sarah McCann, hopes will be a community hub and one-stop shop for all.
The selection of services at the station is second to none. From essential groceries to luxuries like retro sweets, locals will be spoiled for choice.
The Route 16 café is open every day from 7am to 4pm for locals, truckers and people travelling by, for all to grab a freshly baked scone or a hot bite to eat.
A Blacklion local, Sarah believes the station has already made a massive difference in the area, especially for older people.
She said, “There aren't many places older people can go to grab a coffee or a bun, especially with winter coming when they're on their own a lot, and now they're coming daily for their dinner which they haven't been able to do for a long time.”
The entrepreneur, who is also a busy nurse in a Sligo hospital, has provided employment to eleven people in the region.
“One thing that makes me the proudest is offering work," she said. “There's not a lot of work in the area and some people don't have the option to drive to another town. I like to be flexible, if I have staff that are happy they're more productive.”
According to Sarah, her “phenomenal” staff are starting to feel like a family. She said, “The staff I have are fantastic, they've gone beyond all their duties. Everybody takes on and does every little thing and they know everyone that comes in, people sometimes come in just for the craic! I can't praise them enough and they really do thrive on offering our customers a great deal more at their local store.”
Sarah is already looking ahead and has big plans to offer what she calls “that little bit more” for people in the local community.
She said, “I know it's a business, but I want to use it as a hub for different things every now and again for kids and senior citizens.
“I want the coffee shop to be somewhere people can come to interact to get rid of isolation and to have some craic. The Covid-19 pandemic has been difficult for everyone and I know this isn't going to cure the problem, but I want to give something back to people. There's always someone here to chat to, always someone to try and help.”
The service station is open every day from 7am until 10pm Monday to Saturday, and 8am on Sundays.
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