The Green Man
Showcasing business and innovation in Donegal.
The Green Man is a Wholefood & Fine Wine Shop with an excellent delicatessen. There is also a wide range of organic, fair trade & gluten free products. Fresh bread and croissants baked daily. We aim to stock as may local products as we can find e.g Hornhead honey, Marble Hill skin care products, Local salad leaves when available, Local dry cured bacon and handmade sausages, Local Turf Smoked Salmon, Filligans Jams & chutneys, dried seaweeds from Burtonport, Donegal rapeseed oil etc.,
Speaking to us this week Neil John Hougardy told us that ‘the aim is to bring together foods and products, both local and imported, which are not readily available in the area. My partner Eileen Gallagher was born and raised near Dunfanaghy, Co. Donegal and we started up The Green Man as a joint venture in June 2006’
Who or what is your main market?
As well as Local people Dunfanaghy has a large holiday home population who visit regularly
How do you run your business from Donegal?
I run the business together with my partner Eileen, we are a small family run business and we are open all year Mon - Sat 9.30am – 6pm, & Sunday 10am – 2pm.
We try as much as possible to supply people with foods they cannot access themselves through the normal shops, whether this is for particular dietary need or a more exotic spice, herb or ingredient they have come across in a recipe. We also order in bulk foods people use regularly which is more economical for them.
We also try as well to promote and sell local Donegal and Irish produced foods
Why choose Donegal as a place for business?
Donegal is Eileen’s home county and Dunfanaghy her home town. We returned here after having emigrated for work in the 1980’s because this is where we wanted to live. Since I was a chef and we are both passionate about food setting up the Green Man Shop was partly a labour of love and we also realised we would have to create our own employment
Does doing business in Donegal differ from doing business elsewhere?
The people are much more open here, and are very supportive of new initiatives. Also it is challenging as it is seasonal with a small population
Describe your work / life balance?
Being self employed means your time is precious, but we live in a beautiful part of the world and we make the most of the walks around the area, the beaches and the social life.
What has been the biggest challenge you faced and how did you meet it?
Trying to get producers to deliver here, as we are a bit remote and the low footfall out of the summer season.
What are your hopes for the future here and for your business?
People are becoming more and more interested in what they eat, where it comes from and sourcing local foods. I would like to see more artisan food producers opening up in Donegal as I believe there is a growing demand for local quality foods.
Any advice for someone looking to set up a business in Donegal?
You need to be resilient, make use of the supports available and enjoy a challenge. It is not always easy living here, there is a small population most of the year and business is tough. But the people and the scenery make up for the hard times.