Welcome to Inspired, our column for local businesses in Local Women magazine. Inspired celebrates stories of local female entrepreneurs and answers your burning business questions too. This month, we meet superstar Donna Moran of Moran’s Retail Group in the North West, and hear how she’s managed to run a successful business for many years.
Next month we look forward to hearing from our expert contributors as they answer your burning business question – How can my business build up Facebook followers?
Bye for now! Reach out if you’ve got a question you’d like us to feature in our column – we’d love to hear from you.
Sarah and Camilla
The Speakeasy Club
We recently started the Speakeasy Club, a four-week workshop taking place in the evenings after work, to help reluctant public speakers to overcome anxiety about giving presentations at work. We meet two members of the Speakeasy Club and hear their story.
Niamh Taylor is a multi award-winning digital marketing expert. Her company, Digital Twenty Four, specialises in helping businesses find customers online and once found, they work at retaining them.
What Niamh got from the Speakeasy Club
‘At some points during the four weeks I was out of my comfort zone but never felt uncomfortable. The support network was second to none. The Speakeasy Club went far beyond my expectations. I HIGHLY recommend doing it. You will not regret it.’
Angela loves working with people, giving them freedom to live the life they want and empowering them to make changes, as a life coach, using NLP and rapid transformational hypnosis. But, her reluctance to present in front of a group meant she was missing opportunities.
What Angela got from the Speakeasy Club
‘The Speakeasy Club is a great way to identify your strengths and build on them. It has changed my outlook as I now look upon speaking to a group about my business as an opportunity, not something to be avoided.’
If, like Angela and Niamh, you’d like to develop your skills, come along and try it out for yourself. You’ll be in good company!
Donna Moran – Changing Family Mealtimes
This month, we meet local dynamo Donna Moran, whose family business, Moran’s Retail, is changing family mealtimes in the North West. Donna and her family have built up a supermarket and retail business over many years, with their three Centra and Supervalu stores in Derry, Ballykelly and Coleraine. With her glossy dark hair and twinkling eyes, Donna is the picture of fun when we meet.
We can’t help but wonder how she manages to stay grounded, as she keeps pace with the pressure of a successful business. ‘It’s about the team’, says Donna. ‘Working together, we try hard to keep up with changes in customer lifestyles’.
Over the last few years, Donna’s staff picked up on a trend towards customers becoming more careful about the food they buy. Families are short on time, but want to give their children the healthiest food they can. So in 2014, Donna and John launched Moran’s ‘Kitchen to Kitchen’ to meet their customer needs. Keeping it in the family, Donna and John’s brothers, Gary and Raymond prepare a range of fresh, healthy meals with their team every day in their purpose-built kitchen.
‘From our kitchen to yours’ is the promise that Moran’s make. Their chilled meal range includes family favourites like shepherds pie and chicken curry, along with a delicious range of salads, and fresh, tasty soups. They sell these meals from the chilled food section of their own stores, so that family mealtimes are happy and healthy whether you cook or they do it for you.
‘Our business started a long way from where it is now’, laughs Donna. The young Donna met John in 1980, and together they spotted a business partnership, long before they had even married. Supported by Donna’s dad, Colm, Donna and John first opened their doors as Foyleside Tyre and Exhaust Centre in Derry in 1984. Together with Colm, they ran a successful garage for many years, looking after their customers and becoming part of the local business community. By the time they bought the entire business from Colm in 1987, Donna had become Donna Moran, and together John and Donna had 3 children.
Growing serious, Donna notes, ‘When you build a strong team, anything can happen. We work with a team of committed staff, and that is what gives our business such capacity’. So in the millennium year 2000, Donna and John rebranded their growing business. They launched Breico, inspired by their three children. The business name was made up of the first letters of the children’s names – Brona, Eimear and Conor. By that time, the business had become a modern service station and convenience store located on the Strand Road in Derry. After that, Donna and John then spread their wings further afield and bought convenience store and service station premises in Ballykelly and Coleraine.
‘We’re always looking at ways to give staff opportunities to develop and grow. It’s so important to us’, she continues. Morans have been awarded Investors in People accreditation, and have also won the Neighbourhood Retailer Training Initiative Award for their work on staff training. This is Donna’s pride. She gets great satisfaction out of helping staff to achieve their ambitions and seeing them work hard to offer great customer service. Staff stay with Moran’s because they enjoy the work environment, and they work hard to make sure that Moran’s customers have a great experience.
Here at ‘Inspired’, we’ve been buying the Shepherd’s Pie and healthy, hearty soup every weekend for our hungry children, and we’re thrilled!! No more vegetable peeling or pot washing, and still the children get a healthy, tasty meal, at a great-value price.
Before we leave we ask Donna for her top nugget of advice after more than thirty years in business. Smiling first of all at the idea of being considered a business guru, she grows serious for a moment to think. ‘For me, it’s all about the team’, she says. ‘Without taking time to build a great team, there would be no Moran’s.’