JOHN and Mary Gilmartin are keeping their fingers crossed that there’s no postal strike next week when they mark the 50th anniversary of their business by opening new premises.
The couple, who run Gilmartin Insurances in Main Street, Manorhamilton, are moving to newly built offices in nearby Old Church Street. And they plan to mark the move with a launch party attended by customers, business people, family and friends.
John, who has run the business for more than 30 years, explained: “We were in offices in the old Mitchells Hardware building when I began in the business. We decided to move to new premises but, unfortunately the move in 1979 coincided with the postal strike. We had to call out to all our customers to deal with their policies and let them know about the move.”
John, originally from Ballintogher, Sligo, and Mary, from Swanlinbar, are pictured poring over an old advert from 1979, apologising for postal strike difficulties and telling customers about the move from Mitchells Hardware building to Upper Main Street.
They moved again in December, 1981, to the present premises in Main Street where they have been dealing with their customers for the past 30 years.
On Monday, August 13, they relocate to new offices in Old Church Street. The premises will be opened by John’s sister, MEP Marian Harkin. A marquee is being erected for the occasion in the car park outside the new premises. John and Mary are providing Irish music, wine and finger food - prepared by celebrated chef John Kelly, from the Riverbank restaurant, Dromahair, whose familyhave been longstanding customers.
All customers are invited to attend the launch, which begins at 2pm. “It’s a new building; it’s bright and fresh, it’s new,” said John. “We hope our customers will like the new premises and there’s ample parking.”
While the premises may change, one thing will stay the same: The welcome for customers and time for a chat. “Customers love to come in and have a chat with John,” said Mary. “That’s not going to change with the new premises.”
Gilmartin Insurances was founded 50 years ago in 1962 by John’s uncle, Thomas Gilmartin. Thomas and his son, Patrick, died tragically in a fishing accident on the River Bonet in 1974. His widow, Anna, continued to run the business until 1979 when John joined the firm, aged 24.
John and Mary are making an open invitation to all customers, businesses, family and friends and will be pleased to welcome you at the new premises for the launch from 2pm on Monday, August 13.