Considering he spent most of his childhood in the Monster House (the family business), David Duggan was primed for the retail and customer service business from an early age.
Duggan, who has been in the uniform sector for the past 18 years, and has just launched a new venture this month called Delivery Solutions.
David has lived in Kilkenny his whole life - all 48 years of them! He is a father of four children and married to the fabulous Gillian, who is a primary school teacher.
His hobbies are playing golf, soccer and he is actively involved in the senior Kilkenny Rugby Club and trains the under-12s team. Without doubt his favourite past time is going to hurling matches with his family and Dad, Tommy.
Here is a glimpse into David’s world…
What was it like growing up in the iconic Monster House department store?
As a young kid, I loved going in there every day after school. In those days, there was maybe 80 to 90 staff and a lot of them had worked there for 40 to 50 years. It was kind of an institution back then.
Naturally as a child and as an early teen, I liked working in the toy department and I think that’s where my customer skills were mastered. I loved talking and meeting people back then, just as much as I do today.
Everyone has great memories of the Monster House, especially at Christmas time. We had the best Santa - Jimmy Hayden, God rest his soul. I was recruited at a young age as an elf to make up the Santa bags, I guess Santa saw the potential!
You had a ‘light bulb’ moment during lockdown to set up a new essential service business called Delivery Solutions. How did that happen?
Yes, the lightbulb moment came to me during the Covid lockdown.
I was collecting prescriptions for my parents and the round trip was taking an hour. I was delighted to help out but would have much preferred to have spent that time chatting with them in their garden.
It got me thinking about how carers are wasting valuable time in traffic and queuing for prescriptions when their time would be much better spent sitting to and chatting with the people whom they are caring for.
In general we are much busier now and we all need a helping hand at times and Delivery Solutions offers this. It’s not another courier business, it’s more of a personalised service. It’s a friendly, cost effective, local delivery service.
What has been the market reaction?
We have done quite a bit of market research into providing this essential service. The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.
There is a huge need for this service locally in Kilkenny. People are fearing another lockdown, so it’s one less thing for them to worry about.
The essential service is also getting great pick up from local medical experts. We just received a lovely message and endorsement from Bluebird Care wishing ‘Delivery Solutions the very best for the future in supporting people in the local community with this unique solution’.
Who pays for the service and how much is it going to cost?
Customers will contact their local pharmacy for a next day delivery, who in turn add the cost of delivery to their order. The price of the service is €6.50 for all prescriptions delivered within a five-mile radius.
Besides the customer at home, how is Delivery Solutions going to benefit other services in these uncertain times?
Pharmacies, nursing homes, medical centres and hospitals will all benefit. We will provide pharmacies an express and reliable delivery service for their customers who prefer to have their prescriptions delivered directly to their door or who may need medication returned to the pharmacy.
Nursing homes can benefit with the daily deliveries of prescriptions and medications required for their residents. Medical centres using the service can avail of the express person to person urgent blood products, pathology and specimen sample collection and delivery service.
There will also be an important Hospital Express Service, with a person to person urgent blood products, pathology and specimen sample collection and delivery service.
My own mother’s pharmacy in Thomastown delivered her hair colour to her during lockdown! Do you think you will be delivering a lot more than just medication?
Yes if people need other products from the pharmacy in their delivery we can certainly accommodate them.
I believe hair colour was somewhat of an essential during lockdown - fair play to your mother and her local pharmacy!
What is it like opening a new business in these uncertain times?
History has shown that successful companies open in the bad times. Look at the last recession - WhatsApp was created! Let’s hope Delivery Solutions is as successful!
So when are you launching this new venture?
Delivery Solutions is now open for business and if you are interested in using our service, just contact me on 087 2863905.
What has the reception been like from elderly people when you visit them?
Overwhelmingly positive. Having worked in The Monster House for years there has been lots of reminiscing and stories from the past. I have to say it’s the highlight of everyday!
What’s the short and long term plan for Delivery Solutions?
In the short term I’m trying specifically to develop the pharmacy delivery service but can see it growing to include other retail stores and sectors.
With the constant threat of Covid, people are trying to limit their contacts especially in the run up to Christmas but also want to support local businesses as opposed to online shopping.
With twin boys and two teenage girls you have a busy household. How did you keep them all occupied during lockdown?
There were plenty of walks down the Linear Park path and as a family we took on a challenge of building a patio to the rear of the house. The kids got involved and learned lots of new skills!
There was lots of pucking around as my kids love to hurl. My wife is also a great baker and got the kids to help, and I’m still trying to shed the Covid stone!
What new hobbies did you pick up?
I inherited my father-in-law’s old lawnmower and have become an expert grass cutter!
I heard somewhere that you were stuck on a flight with Bono once! What happened?
That’s right! We were coming back from Honeymoon in New York and our flight was delayed home. It wasn’t too bad as we ended up spending a couple of hours in the company of Larry Mullen and Bono while we waited to board! I could think of worse ways to spend hours trapped on a plane!
For more information contact David Duggan on 087-2863905, email@example.com or your local pharmacy.