|The History of Griffin Hawe|
Griffin Hawe occupy an important and historic building on Athy’s Main street but perhaps more importantly the now familiar trading name is part of the local vocabulary. 47 years ago Brothers Dermot and Mervyn joined forces with Wesley Hawe to open their hardware shop on 9 May 1969. Mervyn Griffin and Wesley Hawe have since retired from the business to be replaced as directors by Stuart and George Griffin, sons of Dermot who still retains an interest and an enthusiasm for the business.
Griffin Hawe is more of an institution than a store, 47 years on from the Directors original aim of "creating a store that can supply every possible need in the hardware and builders providers’ trade all under one roof" has not only been achieved but grown to include hunting, fishing, archery, furniture, flooring, household and a nursery department.
The uniqueness of the store lies not only in the shop layout, old with a twist of new, but behind its modest traditional façade lies 27,000 sq. ft. of retail selling space. From the outset Griffin Hawe spread its wings wide selling not only hardware but also building material and fancy goods, thanks to hard work and dedication on the part of the partners the business prospered from the outset and soon the partners began to extend the sales area. An adjoining property was acquired and a large warehouse and building materials stores was constructed at the back of the original store.
On the site formerly stood an old courthouse which in those days of British occupation was called Crown House. When court sittings back in the 1800's were transferred to the present court house (known at that time as the Corn Exchange, abbreviated by natives to The Corn E.X.), the old courthouse was taken over and used as a pawn office by Mr. Rowney. Here it was that a Mr. M. Doyle, Athy, of later years as a pawnbroker in Duke Street and Leinster Street served his time to pawn broking. Mr. Rowney bequeathed the courthouse to a Carlow convent community in which his sister was a nun. Mr. Rowney was a nephew of Dr. Comerford, Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. Mr. W.P. St. John, Athy, jeweller and watchmaker bought the courthouse from the nuns.
Today Griffin Hawe Ltd spreads to either side of the original shop taking in the home of the former Archduke of Athy including his Cockpit where cock fights were regularly staged and in which now houses the plumbing department. The Cockpit consists of an octagonal building of brick and stone with a distinctive conical roof and is one of the very few examples of this type of building still extant in the country.
Griffin Hawe has been associated with the Topline Group since its inception 39 years ago. Topline is Ireland’s largest buying group and has over 80 affiliated members and 160 stores spread across Ireland. Topline group through its combined purchasing volume is able to make available to its members products that otherwise would not be available. Volume purchasing organized by the Topline Group allows us to offer something unique and reward our Customers with the best possible savings, special deals and promotions.