For many years, it has been one of the busiest and most eagerly anticipated shopping days in Ballymena for the retail, hospitality and wider business community. Unfortunately, plans for Ballymena’s Annual Discount Day, which usually takes place mid-November, have had to be postponed due to ever changing restrictions brought about by the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic.
Following the Northern Ireland Executive’s announcement on 14th October, resulting in the temporary closure of Hospitality, Wellbeing and Beautician sectors, together with additional restrictions on unnecessary travel outside of local areas, the Ballymena Business Improvement District (BID) felt compelled recently to make the difficult decision to postpone our Discount Day until it is deemed safe to proceed with a rescheduled event.
Speaking about the decision, Stephen Reynolds BID Chairperson said: “The past eight months have been extremely challenging for almost every business in Ballymena. Sadly, the postponement of our annual discount day is another repercussion of the current Covid restrictions being imposed throughout N. Ireland.”
“Historically, our annual discount day is a fantastic event which unites the entire business community and shoppers and visitors alike. Ballymena traders rely on this long established, annual event to kick-start the festive retail period. It draws huge numbers from right across Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland….with some shoppers visiting from as far away as Scotland”.
“For that reason, we felt we had no alternative other than to do the responsible thing and postpone the event until travel restrictions are eased and the N. I. Executive likewise eases restrictions on hospitality, beauty and wellbeing business sectors.
“The safety of staff and visitors to Ballymena must remain paramount during these challenging times. We trust that shoppers and visitors alike, who choose Ballymena as their preferred retail destination of choice in coming weeks, can enjoy a more holistic visitor experience following the reopening of bars, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, and the various other business sectors, going forward.
Stephen continued “Believe me…..we didn’t take such an important decision lightly. As a board of Directors, made up of representatives from local businesses, we consulted with local traders, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Ballymena Chamber of Commerce and other stakeholders on the potential impact of such a decision and how we would need to revise our plans for coming weeks.”
“We will be reviewing this difficult decision towards the end of the current restrictions with the hope of re-scheduling the event to a time when we deem it safe to do so….based on further guidance from the Executive”
Emma McCrea, BID Manager, agreed “Whilst the news of the postponement of Ballymena’s Annual Discount Day is disappointing, we feel it’s the safest and most socially responsible decision we could arrive at. However, we are already working on a contingency plan that will encourage local people to Shop Local, Shop Safely, Shop Ballymena….with an exciting campaign that rewards both shoppers and traders. We look forward to announcing details of the campaign in coming days.”
“Ballymena is renowned as a prime and popular retail destination with many long-established independent retail traders, intermingled with larger multiple retail stores, working together for the betterment of the local business community….and the local economy. It’s what gives Ballymena its unique character and makes it a great place to shop, work, live and do business in.”
“As a BID our primary objective is to support, encourage and grow local businesses. We will continue to do all that we can to ensure that Ballymena remains a popular retail, hospitality, leisure and pleasure destination. ”
Emma concluded: “Ballymena is most definitely still open for business! We would encourage the local population of Ballymena and district to support local businesses by shopping local….and shopping in Ballymena. Look out for special offers on our social media pages and stay tuned for further announcements.”
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