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Plans to turn former home interior store into cafe

The former Albany shop

There was widespread shock in January when Albany Home Decor Store in Portlaoise became the latest business casualty in Portlaoise’s town centre.

The business, which celebrated its 21st anniversary in business in 2016, was located beside the Library in Lyster Square.

Albany Portlaoise was owned and operated by sister and brother team, Veronica and Fergal Wall.

The duo offered clients a personalised interior design service, both in-store and in the clients’ own home.

However, it appears that the property will not be vacant for much longer.

Planning permission has been lodged to turn the former Albany store into a cafe.

Christopher Maquire and Martina Cahill have applied to Laois County Council to change the use of the shop from retail shop to cafe.

In the application, they seek to update and add new toilets. They also wish to erect new signage on the existing shop front.

It is not known what the new cafe will be called yet.

Albany Home Decor was one of a number of businesses which have closed in recent months in the town centre.

Other local businesses which closed nearby include Miller’s Hardware, Eats & Treats and API’s Chocolates.

Speaking to LaoisToday at the time, owner Fergal Wall explained that closing was ‘the last thing’ he wanted to do.

He said: “We had a very poor December. We had no choice. It just all got too tight with competition from other retail outlets who can offer free parking, out of town.

“It was the worst December in a long time. We rode it out through the recession and tried to keep it going.

“It’s a terrible feeling to close your own business.”

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.