Lennox Street Grocer
Dublin Store 38 Lennox Street, Portobello, Dublin 8, IE
- Selection of fresh bread and pastries, meats and cheeses.
- Delicious pantry items.
- Wine, tastings, and events.
38 Lennox Street
WHAT WE LOVE
Originally a pop-up, Lennox Street Grocer opened in November 2020. Two years later, the shop conceived by siblings Claire and Chris Arnold (with a combined 20+ years working in various aspects of the food and beverage industries in Europe and North America) is thriving. The shop marries a delicious selection of products from local and international suppliers with a beautifully presented shop. The classic, smartly painted shopfront with its colourful display of produce and the creative signage hand painted by artist Darragh Mulryan.
"Portobello neighborhood grocer, fine food, & wine."
Claire and Chris Arnold, the shopkeepers at Lennox Street Grocer
What inspired you to open Lennox Street Grocer?
I think since working in food, going into beautiful food shops in Dublin and Paris to get 'that special ingredient' or even just going in for a browse, they were places I was always excited to visit but actually to open one happened a little more organically. Certainly places like Liston's and Fallon & Byrne in Dublin were aspirational in Ireland and then living in Paris being exposed to never-ending beautiful shops was extremely inspiring and would have subconsciously inspired a certain aesthetic for sure.
I was working in restaurants for years and had moved into wine sales but had wanted to start something of my own and our parents had just bought a farm in Wicklow. Inspired by the thought of having a city centre location to sell future farm products with an existing retail license and a desire to remain within the food & wine industry without opening a restaurant necessarily, the first idea for a shop was born. Initially the idea was to open a bulk/eco store and host tastings for tourists but then Covid hit and the whole thing had to be re-thought.
How was it opening a store in a pandemic?
It certainly was a rocky road, with over 6 months of uncertainty during the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 I felt very discouraged at the beginning but with an awful lot of help from family, especially brothers who are gifted with spreadsheets and collating information I was encouraged to at least try to open a pop-up. Christopher was also out of work from the service industry and with lots of experience in restaurants and customer service, ended up joining in the idea as we opened in November 2020. It felt a little like an out-of-body experience but we decided from day one to just ask our customers what they would like us to stock in the shop should we stay open and have literally done that, trying to make little improvements organically and when we could afford to.
What do you love about having a shop?
I think the most enjoyable thing is seeing and hearing customers appreciate the selection of products and comment on how welcoming the shop feels. It's very nice to be able to share your passion for a favourite product, give a recipe idea to someone not sure what to cook for dinner that evening or to help a customer find the perfect bottle of wine and then hear the feedback the next time you meet.
How has the pandemic changed people's view of local/small shops?
People seem to now really appreciate the value of having a relationship with their local shopkeepers. We have become friends with many of our customers and it certainly feels like a part-community centre at times, a meeting place for locals, somewhere they can leave their keys or have a parcel dropped when they're out. In such busy times it feels like a smile and a chat can do the world of good.
ON THE FUTURE OF RETAIL
Claire : " I still love getting drawn into a beautiful or intriguing-looking shop and really enjoy browsing a thoughtfully curated selection of items. I also love the convenience of online shopping and how it opens your choices up to markets all over the world. I think a combination of the two is already happening quite successfully and is likely to continue."
Chris: " I think there's a lot of value in having a relationship with shopkeepers who know their products well and can guide you to find something you'll like. When everything has started to feel very samey with conglomerates like Amazon having such a large presence I think its natural that people will continue to seek out smaller independent retails shops."