The Story of Greenacres
James O’Connor, who opened Greenacres in Wexford, comes from a long line of Wexford business people. Going back over the generations they were solicitors, bakers, builders and merchants. Dating from 1860, James is the sixth generation of his family to carry on business in the town starting with M J O’Connor his Great, Great Grandfather, who set up Frank O’Connor & Co Ltd at 54 North Main Street Wexford, trading as Bakers, Grocers and Confectioners.
If you turn right out of Greenacres and walk along North Main Street towards the centre of town, you will quickly find the old Frank O’Connor building on your left. It now houses a branch of Boots the chemist. However, if you look high up on the front of the building you will still see an echo of its past, a slogan proclaiming “Bread Is Still The Staff Of Life” and below it, the intertwined initials FOC; Frank O’Connor.
Frank O’ Connor & Co Ltd stopped trading in 1979 and 54 North Main Street essentially remained empty until James re-opened it as Greenacres in 1985. James started his commercial life in the fruit and vegetable business getting up in the wee small hours to take Wexford produce to be sold in the Dublin markets and returning with produce to supply to the shops and restaurants of Wexford. He took the name Greenacres from a business he acquired. Initially selling vegetables, Greenacres at 54 North Main Street evolved over time into a fresh food hall and delicatessen with the later addition of a Wine Merchants, Art Gallery and a small restaurant. It was in the flat over the shop that James started married life with Paula, his wife, who gave him an added incentive to make Greenacres the successful business it is today, by producing triplets, James, Patrick and Louise in 1994.They all work in the business today thus forming the seventh generation to work in the family business in Wexford.
Over the next ten years Greenacres steadily grew in scope and reputation becoming renowned well beyond the shores of Ireland for its world class cellar of fine French wine, its eclectic “foody’ shop and its gallery featuring some of the best Irish contemporary artists.
By 2005, Greenacres needed a new home that would provide a fitting backdrop for its unusual blend of activities. The property that housed the family’s legal business in Selskar became available and this provided the opportunity to move Greenacres into our current home. The building had been purpose built for the family’s legal practice in 1894, and James together with his wife Paula their co-director Donal Morris, transformed and extended it into the magnificent building it is today. We think it does a wonderful job of combining the old with the new and provides a great home for a unique business.
On Saturday October 27th 1956, the Irish Times published a profile of Fintan O’Connor, one of James forbears. The profile touched on the character of Wexford Town describing Fintan as ‘a character in a town of character’ and went on to say that …….for Wexford, perhaps because it lies out in its own corner of Ireland, not on the way to anywhere or from anywhere, has cultivated down the centuries a strongly independent outlook. The very aspect of its narrow streets is a reminder of its history; here have lived and fought the Viking and the Norman, the Cromwellian and the Irish Rebel. Like the country behind it, it is a “warm” town with an air of busy prosperity.
James feels that this well reflects his business, warm, independent and full of character.
We hope that you enjoy your visit to Greenacres just as much as we enjoy seeing you.
Fåilte go loch Garman