Wines Direct reveals plans for new Athlone store

Wines Direct has revealed plans to open a second store in the county in Athlone.

The family owned and operated wine importer, who already run a successful outlet in Lough Sheever Park in Mullingar, has submitted a proposal seeking approval for a new shop along Magazine Road.

Earmarked for units 1 and 3, at The Hickey Building, formerly home to DB Cycles, the plan would involve the amalgamation of both units into one at ground floor level.

A change of use is also being sought from retail use to retail use with wine as the primary product for sale along with some minor internal works.

“The Mullingar store is very successful and has prompted the need for another store in Athlone,” the planning documents state, arguing that the reuse of a prominent vacant retail unit is important for the “vitality and viability” of Magazine Road.

“Initially, the applicant sought to change the use of a car showroom in Moydrum Business Park into a wine shop, but difficulties arose with the fact that wine is only allowed under the definition of 'shop' where it is an ancillary part of the dominant retail product,” the submitted plans in the name of Wine Makers Athlone trading as Wines Direct details, necessitating the current change of use.

A separate wine licence will need to be obtained by the applicant, if the application is successful, according to the submitted planning documents, and it stresses that the units will not sell any spirits or beer and will not be an off-licence.

An Irish owned company, Wines Direct, according to the application source wines that are not available in supermarket chains which they say tend to “promote homogeneity and bulk production”.

In addition to the sale of wines, their stores try to enhance customer experience by providing wine tasting and informal events throughout the year. Wines can be purchased in-store with ancillary food or wine products or online.

Up until recently, Wines Direct operated a store in Arnotts in Dublin city centre, in addition to its Mullingar outlet, but this closed in August.

Westmeath County Council is also being asked to give the green light to external works involving new signage, vinyl graphics on windows and new light-box signage.

A new projecting canopy is also proposed over the entrance door with new pillars to sides and cornice piece to top of existing shopfront frames.

Planners are due to announce a decision on the new Athlone shop by January 5 in 2023.