With Irish food, clothes, and gifts celebrating Ireland, Failte Irish Imports, in business for almost 20 years, brings a little magic to this strong Irish community.
Across the country, local Irish and Celtic shops represent the heartbeat of Irish culture in their communities, a place for Irish Americans to connect with their roots and for those in the larger community to learn more about everything Ireland has to offer. During this unprecedented time, IrishCentral is shining a light on local Irish stores and the dedicated shop owners who pour their hearts and souls into providing the best possible experiences for their customers.
If there's one thing the owner of Failte Irish Imports, Liza Henedley Betz knows is that the Irish abroad miss the comforts of home, especially the food. Now 19 years after this Lexington, Kentucky shop opened the Irish community, those of the horse industry included, are the bases of its strong and hungry customer base.
Liza, originally from Stillorgan, in Dublin, came to Kentucky at the age of 21 and started her journey in the United States managing an Irish bar.
"I missed home and food from home. We have a pretty big Irish population here because of the horse community," Liza explained. "So my shop started as a small grocery store and to this day food is what I sell the most of."
A strong presence in the Irish community, Liza is very proud to be hands-on with her customers.
"We have a very large Irish community. We have a good mix of off the boat Irish and Irish Americans," said Liza.
"I help with the St. Patrick’s Day parade and festival. Until recently we had a Kentucky Rose. I like to say that my shop brings Ireland to Lexington Kentucky!"
Liza added, "I’ve got the best customers!"
Failte Irish Imports stocks all the most popular foods including tea, crisps, biscuits, sausages, and chocolate. It's little surprise that November and December (around Thanksgiving and Christmas), as well as March and April (when St. Patrick's Day is celebrated), are Failte Irish Imports' most popular times of the year when Irish tasty treats are most desired.
"The horse industry brings a lot of Irish here and a lot of them move here after spending time here," Liza continued.
"Kentucky is a lot like Ireland, green, rolling hills, and farms. I also have a lot of Irish American customers who like to come in for a coffee and a chit chat and browse our gift area."
Happily, in ordinary times, Liza travels to Ireland once or twice a year and even organizes custom tours to bring Kentuckians to Ireland, and show them the Emerald Isle through the eyes of a native.
For now, however, Liza has been adapting her business. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Failte Irish Imports owner has been forced to cut her store opening hours but she has also started offering curbside pick-ups and delivery. You can make an order from Failte Irish Imports at www.lexirish.com.