Aramark Mulls Bringing Avoca to U.S.

The Irish "mini department store" is ready to expand.

William Muphy | Flickr

William Muphy | Flickr

How to describe the Avoca chain of stores in Ireland? Maybe something like Pottery Barn meets Starbucks meets Boston Market — the kind of place where you’d buy a throw for your couch, pick up a meal to eat at home in the evening, and buy a coffee and a pastry while you’re in.

Avoca is beloved in Ireland, it seems. And how the chain’s owner — Philadelphia-based Aramark, is mulling bringing the stores (or, at least elements of it) to the U.S.

“This concept is hugely acceptable to people internationally,” Donal O’Brien, Aramark’s president of Irish operations, told the Independent in a weekend interview.

Aramark — known for providing food and janitorial services to institutions like universities and big-league stadiums — bought Avoca in 2015, giving the longtime Irish mainstay the resources it needs to expand beyond the country’s borders. Aramark “wants to take the quintessentially Irish brand to the UK, US and mainland Europe,” the Independent reported.

The Avoca brand, O’Brien told the paper, is “aspirational and contemporary” — akin to Anthropologie in the U.S., but with more food options.

Expansion will begin in Ireland itself.

“It’s a scalable business model and we just have to let it take its course. There is no question that it is scalable because the Pratts (former owners) have already done that here,” O’Brien said. “It’s not that it’s going to be ubiquitous on every corner, that would be the wrong thing to do. It will be done selectively.”