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Lisburn Road AGM hears of action plan for local ‘Bond St’

Traders’ plan of attack for 2012

By Paul Ainsworth

HOPES that the Lisburn Road can push against the economic tide in 2012 were laid out at the recent Annual General Meeting of local traders.

The Lisburn Road Business Association (LRBA), gathering last week in the Wellington Park Hotel, heard traders describe another tough year for business which saw shops on “Belfast’s Bond Street” forced to close their doors.

However, optimistic plans to boost visitor numbers and a  meeting with Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster in the coming weeks gave hope to those attending that growth could be on the horizon after all.

Local shopkeeper and LRBA member Mark Taylor told the South Belfast News that a “plan of attack” was now underway to get tills ringing along the road over the next year which could see a permanent presence of the LRBA in the form of an office.

“At the AGM we put forward a number of ideas which form part of our plan of attack, and these firstly include more events that proved to be a success last year, such as the ‘I Love Saturdays’ campaign,” he said. “There’s a bit of trial and error as always but another hope is, if we can secure funding, to have an office, even on a temporary basis, where we can employ someone to be a point of contact for the public and give advice and guidance on the road.

“There’s a lot we need to take advantage of, including the thousands tourists arriving in the city on cruise ships this summer alone. We need them to know about the North’s only uniquely independent shopping area, so they will come and spend money with us.”

Referring to the upcoming visit by Arlene Foster, he added, “That will take place on March 14, and we hope to show her the benefits of our organisation receiving some sort of funding, as there’s so much we could do with it to turn it into trade for our local stores. Of course, we are also looking at ways we can promote the road for more than just its amazing array of shops and are looking at a number of proposals, including utilising park space at Drumglass.”

Balmoral councillor Christopher Stalford also attended the AGM and praised those who contributed “positive ideas”. He also backed the on-going Buy Local campaign run by the Belfast Media Group.

“The group set a good example for others of its kind, as they come to the table with ideas and are prepared to pay their share to make things work,” he said.

“I think those ideas, including new online marketing, along with the likes of the Buy Local campaign can really get results over the next 12 months.”


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