Independent Traders Day
Published 30 June 2016
Independents’ Day on Monday 4th July will celebrate the role of independent traders within Northern Ireland. Organised by the NI Independent Trade in Association, supported by the Bank of Ireland, the day will encourage consumers to support their local traders by visiting their shop, enjoying coffee and cake in their cafe, or dining in their restaurant.
Translink will also be offering discounts on their Ulsterbus and Metro services into Belfast, including a £2 day return ticket after 9.30am.
Kicking-off at 8am with a Breakfast Networking event at Bank of Ireland High Street branch, guest speakers will include: Gordon McElroy, MKB Law and Belfast Chamber President; Clare Maguire, Director of Belfast One; and Chris Suitor of Suitors Menswear – a highly successful independent trader.
As well as encouraging consumers to shop locally, the day will serve to highlight the contribution that independent retailers and traders make to the local economy and community, which we may often take for granted. Independent traders offer a range of positive benefits including product choice, service quality, accessibility and local jobs.
Within recent years, the number of independent traders has been on the rise, with a demand for more ‘one-off’ items which cannot be found in bigger chain stores or eateries. The current ‘coffee culture’ is benefitting Belfast and other provincial towns, with many new cafes opening and offering fresh, homemade produce. Artisan fairs and ‘pop-up’ markets are now also giving local traders an opportunity to promote their services and products.
The local brewing industry has also increased with figures showing that the number of independent breweries in Northern Ireland has risen from 5 in 2012 to almost 30 in 2016. The demand for ‘quirky’ craft beers in pubs, restaurants and off-licence demonstrates that people do still enjoy a locally made product.
Gordon McElroy, Director of MKB Law and President of the Belfast Chamber comments: “Independents’ Day is a great opportunity for consumers to see for themselves the many benefits of shopping locally – it is also a chance for traders themselves to show that they offer can often rival or better what is offered by the bigger chains.
Many of our members in the Belfast Chamber are independent traders themselves, and their presence and contribution is vital to our retail sector here in Belfast and beyond.”