Our Story

About Dervans Fashions

Our story began when Bernard Dervan first opened our doors at 62 Main Street, Loughrea on the 9th of October 1936. Bernard was born in 1909 in Moyglass, Ballinakill, County Galway into a large family. In 1927 he left the family farm to take up a drapery apprenticeship in Loughrea and immediately set his sights on one day opening his own business. In 1936 Bernard’s brother Pat in Dublin won in the Sweepstakes and lent some seed capital to his brother to realise his dream, allowing Bernard to buy most of the present building the business now occupies.

Bernard quickly pinpointed some core values that he believed would become the bedrock of the business. He called the business “B. Dervan’s, The One Price House”, to signify that everyone paid the same basic prices regardless of status or bargaining ability. This was a unique and brave move at the time and Bernard backed it up with his public notice in the local paper(pictured) at the time announcing the opening of the shop with personal promises and key phrases such as “the cash prices, marked clearly on every garment, will ensure honest value to every purchaser... “I have made it a point to stock and sell only the most reliable branded goods suitable for hard wear as well as smart wear at the lowest possible prices” , he also aimed to have a broad appeal.....“..Prices will be adequate to suit every pocket”. These are values he lived by and instilled in his business and family.

As the business progressed the name later changed to “Dervan’s Drapery” but it was these same principles that allowed the business to survive “the Emergency” years of rationing during World War II. The business thrived under Bernard’s stewardship and was expanded both in size and range of product carried. Some of the earlier moves were to expand into the adjoining premises at 64 Main Street in the early 1960’s. It was again expanded in 1963 with extensions to the rear of the premises.

But it was Bernard’s choice of Loughrea town as a location to found the business that turned out to be his wisest or maybe luckiest move. Loughrea was always a busy market town with a vibrant agricultural industry in the hinterland, but it was the start-up of the Tynagh Mines outside Loughrea in 1965 that was the turning point for the business and indeed the whole town of Loughrea.

A further extension followed in 1972, and in 1973 footwear was added to the product offering. In 1976 Gerard, Bernard’s son joined the business. Gerard’s wife Mary had already been working there at this stage, and they got married in 1979. The 1980’s were difficult times economically in Ireland, but the business continued to flourish, mainly thanks to the loyal customer base from Loughrea and the surrounding countryside that Bernard had cultivated over the previous decades and the new lease of life brought by Gerard, Mary and the many wonderful staff that joined the team over the years.

By the time of Bernard’s death in 1993 he had quite clearly left a legacy and a set of business values that were both timeless and successful, allowing Gerard and Mary to abide by the same philosophies but continue to grow. 1994 saw the annexing of 65 Main Street paving the way for further growth through the 1990’s and setting up the business for the boom years of the 2000’s.

By the mid-noughties two of Gerard and Mary’s children Sinead, Rónán (and later Cliona) had joined the business and were on hand to help guide the business through the turbulent economic downturn that followed the Celtic Tiger years. A decade of instability and harder times was augmented by drastic changes in consumer’s habits in terms of both how they shop and how they spend. Such a plethora of external factors put inevitable pressures on a family business, yet, again, hard work and extremely loyal customers and staff has helped the business pull through its toughest test in its nine decade existence.

And now, in 2019 Bernard Dervan’s business beliefs will be put to the test on the world wide stage with the launch of our first fully functional ecommerce store. Instore we will continue to strive to present a wide range of carefully sourced quality goods, giving our customers the individuality and in-depth service of a boutique coupled with the selection and convenience of a department store. Our goal now is to take those core values set out in 1936 and bring the same level of uniqueness and service from our shop floor and bring it to the homes and fingertips of the modern online shopper.