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Family behind Co. Armagh hardware store say fond farewell after 40 years

'The customers are something that we're really going to miss because they have been so good to us and they have been so supportive'

Well-known Armagh city hardware store, Northern Building Supplies, is set to shut down next month.

In an announcement posted on social media last week, the family said they wanted to wish their customers “happiness and prosperity”, citing the retirement of co-founder Marie Mullen as the reason behind the closure.

Situated on the Ballycrummy Road just outside the city, Northern Building Supplies has been a stalwart supplier in the community it serves since its inception in the 1980s.

Now, over 40 years later, the business has decided to close its doors for the last time on Friday, March 1.

It started out as a coal run from Marie and Sean Mullen’s home, which eventually developed into a building supplies store when builder Sean discovered a gap in the market.

They continued to build the business up and around 1980 they purchased the site at Ballycrummy.

While Sean passed away in 2013, the family kept working and his dream of a new shop became reality in 2021.

Speaking to the family, they said: “It just happened over time, chipping away at things. It was definitely a lot of hard work and a lot of sleepless nights!

“It was just part of our family. When you did get a rare holiday, you always had to stop by the yard first to make sure everything was alright.”

They add that so many people played their part in the growth of the business over the years.

“Marie’s daddy Henry worked in it right up until his 80th birthday. He was a real driving force in it.”

They continued: “The customers are something that we’re really going to miss because they have been so good to us and they have been so supportive. There’s just different characters that we feel really have made an impact on us.

“There’s been challenges but it’s also brought loads of joy. It’ll be sad, it’ll be different and it’ll  be a change for us all, but it’s just the way we feel we have to go.”

Announcing the closure on social media, the family said: “Our reason for closing is Marie’s retirement, she has given her life to the yard and has been such a stalwart in its whole existence. Marie has been a driving force in its evolution and her commitment to it has grown over the years.

“We wish her a long, healthy and happy retirement as she really deserves it, although it will be hard to keep her down.

“A new chapter awaits us and as a family, we wish all our staff and our customers happiness and prosperity. Thank you each and everyone of you that have come through our gate over the last forty plus years, serving you has been a pleasure.

“In the words of Sean ‘Good Luck and all the best’. Northern Building Supplies Ltd. Marie, Shauna, Leanne, Carrie and Miranda.”

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