Fin Hayes, who was named Cork Young Entrepreneur of the Year last November, has taken to crowdfunding to save his business. During last October’s brutal Storm Ophelia, Fin’s Garden Centre and Fin’s Nursery were battered by 175km/h winds. They suffered extensive damage to the tune of €45,000. They had no choice but to close for the week, during which the garden centre was broken into, causing yet more damage. “It was a big blow to our business as €45,000 would be to any small business”.
Fin said he spent a few weeks contemplating closing and giving up. Crowdfunding was something that didn’t immediately come to mind. “It just isn’t done in Ireland; nobody crowdfunds to raise finance here.” But he said it was his customers, who continued to support him, that kept pushing the idea, along with family and friends. “I wasn’t been given a choice really, I wasn’t allowed close. I recall the day after the storm, standing outside the garden centre with about 10 of my customers, all of who were in tears, along with myself. I spent days in tears not just for what I had lost but for my team and my supporters. These are the people who kept me going. They had continued to support me through everything. My team continued to come to work like nothing had happened, and I don’t think I have ever gotten so many hugs from the people of Macroom in one week. After the storm, we really saw the impact we had made on the local community. We had over 200 offers for help cleaning up. This was a real eye-opener. You really don’t see that until something like this happens.”
Early in January, Fin decided that rather than giving up and leaving the community, who had come to love his business so much, he would find it inside himself to fight once more. “I remember saying to myself over Christmas, what the hell, why not? It’s not like I have anything to lose”. He set about contacting everybody he knew for help. He designed a system that rewards his customers with free coffee, discounts and member-only offers for supporting his business. For the month of February, you can support Fin in getting his business back on track. “So far, the support has been great but we will see how it goes from the first of next month. I am extremely nervous. It will either go great or absolutely terrible.” More information can be found on finsgardencentre.com.
“We plan on investing some of the money raised back into our Sunday market. I think this will help give back to the community. One project I would love to do is add a community marquee; this would allow local people come and sell their homemade produce and crafts. I think this would add greatly to the community. I am extremely grateful to the local and larger community, who supported me and taught me so much this past year. That is what business is about.”
Fin’s Garden Centre, comprises not only of a garden centre put also a café and a weekly Sunday market that runs from April until Christmas. They also run several events, along with charity dog shows and summer music events.
Fin’s Garden Centre
SuperValu Carpark, Macroom, Cork
021 206 7787