Drombane Co-Op: Where Loyalty is the Key to Success!

“Drombane Co-Op CEO Emphasizes Importance of Adaptability and Customer Loyalty in Competitive Market”
Drombane Co-Op: Where Loyalty is the Key to Success!

Drombane Co-Op, one of the oldest co-operatives in County Tipperary, recently celebrated its deferred 125th anniversary. The CEO, Michael Bourke, emphasized the importance of adapting to changing regulations and maintaining customer loyalty while remaining competitive in terms of pricing and market. Drombane is part of the co-op source group, which allows for collective purchasing and a better understanding of market dynamics.

The co-op marked its 125th anniversary with a special event in June, following the postponement of last year’s celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the anniversary, Drombane also revamped its hardware store and introduced a small grocery unit. John O’Dwyer, the chair of Drombane, expressed gratitude for the loyalty of both longstanding and new customers, emphasizing that their support has been crucial for the co-op’s survival.

Drombane currently has 45 milk suppliers, with all milk being processed by Tipperary Co-Op. John O’Dwyer highlighted the growth in the milk pool and the addition of new suppliers over the years, despite a decrease in the number of farmers. He also praised the value brought by the feed mill, which was inaugurated in 1999. The recent expansion of the hardware store and the introduction of the grocery shop have further improved the co-op’s business operations.

John acknowledged the dedication of the co-op’s staff, past and present, who have always prioritized the needs of customers and treated the premises as their own. The majority of the staff are local, ensuring that wages and milk cheques contribute to the local community. Michael Bourke, who has been with the co-op since 1995 and became CEO in 2009, acknowledged the challenges faced by co-operatives in the region but expressed confidence in their ability to adapt and seize new opportunities.

Reflecting on the history of Drombane Co-Op, John emphasized the importance of evolving with the times. While the co-op initially focused on milk processing and butter production, it later transitioned to selling milk to Tipperary Co-Op. This long-term contract secures the future of Drombane’s farmers and their milk supply. Looking ahead, Michael emphasized the need to remain competitive and embrace new opportunities as they arise.

Edward Carr, recently elected president of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society and chair of Arrabawn Co-operative Society Ltd., another co-operative in the area, acknowledged the challenges posed by environmental restrictions. However, he expressed confidence in the co-operative structure’s ability to support farmers and help them adapt to changing conditions, ensuring continued success.