Zerafa’s Centra – Londis Top Shop
Zerafa’s new business opened on 17th December 2003. The business incorporates a TOP Forecourt which offers unleaded, derv, car wash, car vac, air & water tower, coal, briquettes & gas. It also has a CentraConvenience Supermarket complemented with a Hot & Cold deli display, a Bewleys freshly ground coffee dispenser, a selection of Fine Wines and an Off Licence.
Joe Zerafa bought the site which included a house and garage in 1981. Joe and his family lived and traded from this site for the following 22 years till August 2003 at which point everything on the site made way for the new development that is the Centra Topshop shop that is there today. Joe operated a successful garage business which included motor repair and the sale of petrol and diesel.
The site was always a vibrant business location as prior to Joe’s coming a gentleman called Pat Donohoe owned the site and was responsible for building the old house and garage way back in 1923. He opened it as a bicycle sales and repair shop and for the sale of petrol. At that time the petrol was taken to the car instead of the car to the petrol pump. Car owners called with a jerry can and filled it up using the hand winder on the pump. They then took it to the car to fill up the tank. Joe continued using the original ullage sticks used for checking the petrol levels in the tanks right up to August 2003. Pat also provided a hackney service that became quite a money spinner especially when apparitions were seen in the county of Tipperary. This encouraged the faithful to make a pilgrimage using Pat’s hackney service. Pat also provided this hackney service for the local gentry notably the Lecky and the North families. He also sold some farm implements and the odd car. One of the first young men in the village to buy a car was Tommy Brien. It cost c. £75 at the time and must have created a minor sensation.
This photo was recently discovered by Pat Lalor of Ballykealey and it was taken in 1950 showing Pat Donohoe beside the pump. This pump is now in a local museum – contact webmaster for details. Note the bicycles for sale.