Serenity Giftware in Clara.

Much-loved Clara gift shop set to close during the summer

A much-loved giftware shop in Clara has become the latest victim of the challenging retail landscape with the announcement that it is set to close in the coming months.

Serenity Giftware, which has been operating on River Street in Clara for the past 16 years, announced its intention to close in a Facebook post earlier this week.

The owners, Ger and Lisa Handy, stated that they have been experiencing difficult trading conditions due to rising costs and falling margins.

The post also stated that a shock diagnosis of illness for Ger Handy in recent months also had “a bearing” on the decision to close.

While they have expressed the hope that they can return to trading “at sometime in the future”, perhaps as an online shop, the Handys are planning to have a sale until the end of May, during which time gift vouchers can be redeemed in store against all purchases.

The proprietors, and their long-time employee, Louise Handy, extended their “heartfelt thanks” to all their customers and the local community in Clara for their “kindness and support” and added that they are looking forward to seeing everyone “pop in for a bargain over the next few months”.

The social media post on Facebook prompted a huge outpouring of support and goodwill for the long-standing business, with over 200 comments and 500 likes. Many messages spoke of how much the local business meant to them, and how much its presence will be missed in Clara.

“A fabulous shop and a big loss to the town” said one post, while another described the shop as “a beautiful unique shop” which was “a great asset to the town through the years”.

As well as being known throughout Offaly and further afield for its huge range of unique gift items, Serenity Giftware is also known for its colourful and creative window displays.

The owners have also been generous contributors to local charity causes over their years of trading and also provided a delivery service to customers.

The news of the closure of Serenity Giftware comes hot on the heels of the closure of a second business on River Street in Clara, with the closure of popular local coffee shop, Kafe U, in January of this year.