Ongoing construction of the new Student Centre may force the Belfield Barber to close its doors, according to the management of the shop.
As construction on the new Centre progresses, the wooden hoarding around the perimeter of the building site – currently stretching from the Sports Centre to the current Student Centre – will be expanded and result in the main entrance to the Sports Centre being blocked off and closed completely. The management fear that the closure of the main entrance will lead potential customers to believe that the barber is not open for business as usual.
The barber is located on the ground floor of the Sports Centre building, and has been run by Richard Coffey for the past ten years, who had been running the shop alone until he was joined last year by his father Jimmy, who is also a barber.
Coffey has noted a sharp decline in the barber’s business of late. When questioned as to what he felt was the reason for this decline, Coffey said he felt that the current economic climate was to blame, stating that “basically people don’t have as much loose money, and someone might need a haircut but he’d say, ‘I have only twenty quid, so I’ll have to leave it until next week.’ They might be getting two less haircuts a year, but if everyone starts doing that you’ll notice a slight drop.”
As well as problems relating to the recession, the barbers must now overcome the interference to their business caused by the construction of the new Student Centre. Coffey has expressed concern about the effect the construction work might have on his business, and told The University Observer that he hoped to counter this hindrance by displaying “some signs along that hoarding saying ‘Business as Usual’”. He also expressed hope that the Sports Centre would assist with the task of making students aware that, despite its main entrance being blocked off, all business would be operating as usual inside the building.
Coffey has instigated some promotional events to boost the business such as “posters, and we hand out flyers with a couple of euro off a haircut.” Coffey reported that he had seen “a few of the flyers come back in,” and deemed these recent promotional efforts to have been relatively successful.