Local businessman and Councillor, Aengus O'Rourke, has welcomed the influx of new businesses opening in Athlone in recent times, noting the town's positive growth as an attraction for prospective proprietors.
"It is great to see so many new businesses come to Athlone and open in recent months and I wish all of them every success. As a businessman myself I understand the risks people take when they put their faith and money in a building and a new venture. It takes a lot of courage and hard work. However, the very fact that entrepreneurs are willing to take a chance on Athlone is a sign that our town is in good shape," Cllr. O'Rourke remarked.
The Councillor referenced the large numbers of businesses who have decided to choose Athlone for their business base.
"Before entrepreneurs invest in a town they do their homework, for example they will want to know, is this town a good place to do business, is it a progressive town, will it grow and, are the conditions right now to invest?
"For the businesses who have invested in Athlone recently, the answers to these questions is clearly 'yes'. Some of those to recently open are, Peddler Mac's, Caffe Nero, Maisies, The Brow Bar, Portside Restaurant (Peter's Port ), Dhaba Restaurant (Baylough ), Tattoo, Remax (soon to open on Pearse Street ), a new Thai restaurant coming to the old Slice of Life building on Connaught Street, and this is just to name a few," Cllr. O'Rourke continued.
The Midland Print and Signs owner noted the benefit of small businesses to a town such as Athlone which continues to grow and prosper.
"Small business are the life blood of our economy. SME's account for 99 percent of total enterprises in Ireland and 68 percent of total employees. The decisions taken by the local authority in recent years to invest in our town, and now our plans to move to phase two (Mardyke Street ) of the town centre enhancement project, as well as other urban enhancement plans, have created a positive environment for business investment and growth.
"While retails and traders in general within the SME are optimistic about the future for Athlone and the Midlands region, there is still a lot of caution and nervousness with regard to Brexit and what might come. In the meantime, I wish all those who have taken the plunge and opened a business in Athlone in recent months the very best of luck," Cllr. O'Rourke concluded.