The Flemings Story
Fleming’s was established in 1949 by Fred Fleming - the 6th son of a small farmer from Stranooden. Fred worked in WA Mc Caldin’s grocery store in Monaghan Town where he worked for several years - initially “serving his time” for three years. It was through working in the town where Fred met his wife Emily. Fred opened his own grocery shop on Dublin Street in Monaghan Town on September 30th 1949.
The store had previously been a grocery shop when Fred took it over which he continued to run independently before joining the Mace franchise several years later. Fred and Emily, who was also involved in the running of the shop, had three children; Freda, Gordon and Florence.
Throughout the 1960’s and 70’s, Fred also ran a mobile shop alongside the bricks and mortar store, which visited local customers at their homes & farms, where small farmers regularly traded items for their eggs or produce in lieu of payment. Fred took orders for any items which weren’t available and those items were delivered to the customer the next day by a small truck.
Fred was well known for his high standards of service and only stocking the best quality products – always keeping his customers and their ever-evolving needs in mind. In July 1965, he expanded the shop and introduced the first “self-service method” supermarket to the town.
The business continued to grow and in March 1973, Fred purchased our current Church Square premises from JJ McCaldin’s in the centre of the town - with his son Gordon joining the business in June of that year.
The new store now provided a large supermarket - with Monaghan’s only private carpark for shoppers at the time - as well as hardware, electrical equipment, furniture, fuels, batteries, gardening tools, seeds & bulbs and animal feeds.
By now, we were also producing our own poultry products - “Fred’s Eggs” - and killing our own beef, which was all sold in the shop. Home delivery was also available to customers as it had been from day one.
Fred’s daughter Freda joined the business in 1976 opening her in-store café which she ran for many years serving homemade breakfast, lunches, tea, coffees, cakes and treats. Freda is also well known for her hugely popular cookery demonstrations which were held in store throughout the years. Her reputation as a cook, baker and caterer is something of an institution locally!
Gordon married his wife Edna in 1979 who joined the business in 1981. Sadly, Fred’s wife Emily passed away in 1975. Gordon subsequently took over the business in the 1980’s, however Fred was still very much at the helm for many years to come. Gordon and Edna had four children; Robert, identical twins Emily & Sarah and Christine.
In 1988 Fleming’s joined the SuperValu franchise and in 1993, purchased an adjacent building which was known as Jenkins’. Jenkins’ had been a toy, gift and jewellery store with a private residence above. Coincidently, this shop had been the reason Fred met his late wife Emily who, hailing from Carlow, had come to Monaghan as a nanny to the Jenkins’ family!
Due to structural issues, this building needed to be demolished and completely rebuilt again from the ground up - it was the first expansion of our current premises where we moved from being one singular store to a department store format.
The new building once complete included toy, gift, jewellery, book and stationery departments. Many local customers have memories of visiting Santa upstairs in both Jenkins’ and our own toy department at Christmas time, where we happily carried on this annual tradition for many years!
Fleming's Department Store
Our expansion continued into the late 1990’s when Gordon subsequently purchased further adjacent properties including the local ESB offices and yard, a vacant building known as McDonnell’s and Jimmy Mc Geough’s shop on The North Road, in order to complete the now current site.
The existing store and new properties were completely redeveloped and officially opened in 2005 as the 60,000 sq ft of retail space (80,000 including storage!) we are today.
Throughout this project, Gordon remained as passionate as ever about supporting local, using only local builders, suppliers and tradespeople wherever possible.
After the store redevelopment, Fleming’s was now a flagship independent department store. Along with our flagship SuperValu, our bookshop joined the Eason franchise - the first independently run Eason of its kind in Ireland – and in subsequent years, our electrical department joined the Expert franchise and toy department joined the Toymaster franchise. New retail units in-store were also rented out to further enhance our “under one roof”, retail offering.
After finishing college, Gordon’s son Robert joined the business in 2004 taking on the management of the store’s electrical department.
Robert married his wife, Sarah in 2017 who joined the business in November of that year. He subsequently took over the entire business in 2021 bringing it into its third generation within the Fleming family - however Gordon and his wife Edna are still very much involved in the running of the business today.
Over the years, Fleming’s has remained true to Fred’s ethos of keeping high standards for our customers, listening to and recognising their changing needs. Our SuperValu was the first and remains the only grocery store in our locality to offer online shopping with home delivery and click & collect.
Since 2017 we have continued to invest in further store redevelopment, including a complete shop refit of Expert Electrical as well as our gift and home department - where we also added a brand-new fashion department.
In June 2019 our in-store café came under new, local management to become Barley and Bean café and our eCommerce website launched in 2021 - adding yet another strand to the business in our plan to remain present for the ever-evolving needs of our customers.
At Fleming’s we take great pride in the fact that we know a lot of our customers by name, with many of our loyal customers having grown up with Fleming’s being at the heart of their shopping experience.
Our store, however, would be nothing without our people who are the heart and soul of our business every day - we take great pride in the number of colleagues holding long service records over the years and love hearing the many stories from customers who held their first job at Fleming’s!
Sadly, Fred passed away in 2015 aged 91 but his legacy continues to live on through the level of customer service and expertise for which Fleming’s has become synonymous with and the great pride we take in serving our local community daily – ever since 1949.
As a third generation, family run business, we’re proud of our heritage and roots in the local community. Our customers have been at the heart of everything we do since my grandfather started this business in 1949 and will continue to be for future generations to come.
From our family to yours, we thank you for shopping at Fleming’s Department Store.