Limerick Voice paid a visit to DUO, a brand new retail space selling local Irish produce called which opened October 13.
The shop is situated in Unit 3/4, Denmark Street. Steering the whole business is Paul Ryan, a 22-year-old photography graduate from Limerick College of Further Education who proves age is not a factor that impedes starting your own business.
“When I finished school, I had no idea what I wanted to do so I took a year out. When I ended up starting college in Dublin, I came across all these kind of shops. Just really nice coffee shops that were different and there was an industry in it and that’s where I got the idea from,” said Paul.
“I saw something there, I’d love to do something like that sometime’. ‘Sometime’ like it was more of a dream.”
A dream was all it was until Paul studied photography in Limerick College of Further Education, where he found a niche in working on the fashion side of photography. However, when Gracie Collier opened up SPICE, a thriving vintage shop in Limerick, Paul started to consider his coffee shop dream more.
“I was telling her I’d really love to open my own coffee shop and I didn’t have the confidence to explain my concept in detail. She was always encouraging and said ‘Why don’t you do it? Limerick needs somewhere like that’ and it just kept snowballing from there,” said Paul.
Decorated with celebratory yellow banners and balloons, DUO certainly puts a spot of colour onto Denmark Street. A concept of a quaint café that is collaborating with over 20 Irish suppliers.
There’s plenty to browse in DUO from coffee to stationary, candles, clothing and more. Many of the products are sourced from local areas such as Killaloe, Nenagh, Lisdoonvarna and further nationally in Dublin and Cork.
Paul spoke about the importance of his business being environmentally friendly; all the cups, lids, stirring sticks, napkins and even the straws are compostable. Even some of the products stocked including the notebooks by Badly Made Books from Dublin are made out of recycled material.
It’s a great example of businesses in the city that are started by young people with a well thought out business plan. Paul Ryan’s vision of DUO was that Limerick was missing something, somewhere a bit fresh. “It needed a nice small space where you grab a coffee and sell something interesting that draws people in.
“I’ve met with all my suppliers personally and there’s a story behind every product which I can tell the customer. They can take something away from that, a story.”