The name Funge has been synonymous with the drapery trade in Gorey since 1927. The late Tom Funge was a native of Ballinatray where his father was foreman of the brick and tile works. Tom served his apprenticeship in Kane’s of Gorey and then went to work in Arnott’s of Dublin. In 1927 he started a drapery and footwear business at 63 Upper Main Street, which he rented from the Smith family, (now occupied by Nel Sweeney’s).
Even though he stocked a full range of drapery and footwear he specialised in made-to-measure suits. For some years prior to 1927 he had, with aid of a sturdy bicycle, and armed with various suiting pattern books, travelled the area selling made-to-order suits from door to door.
In 1932 he purchased the present building, originally a hardware store and pub at 17 Main Street, from Mr Aiden Mernagh, a local vet and three generations of Funges have traded there ever since.
Apart from business Tom Funge was avidly interested in the development of the town and he served both on the local Town Commissioners and Wexford County Council.
In 1949 he hired Bex Shoplifters of Dublin to refit the shop and it was they who did the original black granite front which has been a distinctive feature of Funges over the past 50 years. At the same time the shop was extended to in crude a new shoe department and this work was done by a local contractor Mr. Dan Tompkins.
In 1960 his eldest son Joe, who had also worked in Arnotts, joined the business. Many additions and enhancements were made during the 60’s and 70’s which saw the introduction of extra floor space and a larger variety of goods and brands.
In August 1973 the family business was registered as a company under the name Funge of Gorey.
The third generation of the family joined the firm when two of Joe’s sons Kieran and Colm entered the business in the 80’s.
Over the years the business has expanded and flourished and has earned a top class reputation. It is one of Leinster’s leading stores and is a must for all the visitors to the South East during the summer months. Top brands are stocked in all departments, however the slogan adopted in the 60’s and 70’s “There’s always a bargain at Funge’s” still holds true.
In 2003 the store underwent a complete refit and the distinctive black tile was changed to the present rose coloured Italian granite.
Funges of Gorey is continually being upgraded and brands updated so as to meet the fashion trends of the day.