Business

Ballymena boasts bumper footfall and 15 new stores

A selection of the 15 new retailers are pictured with the Ballymena BID representative, Stephen Reynolds and Roy Smyth alongside deputy mayor Alderman Stewart McDonald
A selection of the 15 new retailers are pictured with the Ballymena BID representative, Stephen Reynolds and Roy Smyth alongside deputy mayor Alderman Stewart McDonald A selection of the 15 new retailers are pictured with the Ballymena BID representative, Stephen Reynolds and Roy Smyth alongside deputy mayor Alderman Stewart McDonald

BALLYMENA Business Improvement District (BID) has reported a 11.4 per cent surge in footfall during the first half of 2023, surpassing the figures from the same period in 2022.

The town has also welcomed 15 new businesses and experienced a major business expansion, bucking the UK and Northern Ireland trends.

It's the second year Ballymena has seen a growth in footfall, showcasing the town's position as a dynamic business hub, poised for continued growth and success in the future.

Among the new businesses are a florist (Mison & Berry), flooring shop and café (Village Floors & Streat Café), hearing specialist (Audio Care), private ultrasound clinic (Oh Baby) as well as beauty business (The Aesthetic Room).

Renowned bakery Douggies Goodies has also invested in larger premises in the town centre and reported amazing footfall figures since opening.

BID manager Emma McCrea said: “Over the past number of years Ballymena BID, and our partners at Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, have really concentrated efforts on creating a welcoming, safe and beautiful town that has an excellent business and retail mix, resonating with a loyal customer base from every corner of Northern Ireland.

“The significant investments and hard work have yielded exceptional results, attracting external investments that further elevate the town’s prominence.

“Ballymena is best known for its exceptional variety of independent stores, complemented by major High Street retailers and the two major shopping centres, Fairhill and Tower Centre.

“This unique blend has established Ballymena as an unparalleled shopping and visitor experience, continually drawing significant investment into the town.”

She added: “Our current weekly family fun days, along with the vast array of events we have organised throughout the year have been a huge draw. This, alongside the gorgeous blooms, the Shutter Art and Ballymena Bears crafted from topiary, has proven to be a big attraction, captivating people of all ages.

“The 15 new businesses offer a brilliant variety of goods and services and have already proven to be a real hit with locals and visitors. We look forward to working closely with them in the years to come.”

BID chair Stephen Reynolds, owner of The Front-Page Bar, said: “I couldn't be more delighted about the exciting addition of many new businesses to our vibrant town and our strong footfall growth.

“My own connection to this remarkable community runs deep, as the proud owner of The Front Page, which we recently purchased after a 33-year lease, I feel a profound sense of belonging and commitment to Ballymena.

“The BID has been hugely successful in helping to build a vibrant and welcoming town that enriches the lives of our residents and visitors alike."