They can take the girl out of Ballymena… Well ok, maybe not me but that’s also because you won’t get me too far from where my wee mummy and daddy are. Home bird through and through.
I am proud of my hometown though, the fact people say ‘hello’ when you walk past them on an evening walk even though you don’t know them from Adam, the great shopping and you won’t speak to anyone for more than 5 minutes before they offer you a ‘wee cup of tea’.
I suppose it’s the people and the moments that builds the foundations of home and exactly what I thought when Retail NI got in touch with me asking if I would share some of my favorite Independent retailers from my hometown.
I will be the first to admit that I can get internet shopping happy, for a while with 2 small children I had ‘the fear’ of going in to town with 2 babies in tow but I suppose it’s a phase that passes and now I have a 3 year old and 4 year old that love a ‘wee dander around and bun at the coffee shop’.
The indépendant retailers of our towns make a huge contribution and without them our highstreets just wouldn’t be the same. I really saw this from standing in Wyse Byse in Ballymena sharing on my Instagram stories that Colin and I needed wall hanging hooks and a suitcase and came to Wyse Byse because it stocked everything and reminded me of the Saturdays shopping with my mum and my £1 pocket money. My inbox flooded with messages from local ladies and ones that have moved from home saying they had the same memories, followed by a pic a mix obviously… a memory I forgot to state.
Essentially that’s what its all about, family owned wee quirky businesses that stay in your memory though I hope these independent shops will be in the girls futures too… after all our high streets wouldn’t be the same without them.
#IndieDayNI18 is a Northern Ireland initiative aimed at encouraging shoppers to visit their local retailers around Independence Day (and all year around). Retail NI is a business organisation that supports independent retailers and the wholesale sector in NI. You can visit their website to find out more on how they can help your business.
I personally will be making more of an effort to pop in to my local independent stores again, though I already know I should practically have shares in my local convenience stores for grabbing coffee on the go!
The stores I visited were of my own choice and if I didn’t run out of time I would have been adding in lots more. Some do not have webpages/ Instagram pages.
Wyse Byse Ballymena
Nisa Portglenone (Convenience store on the way to a Pic Nic)
The Phoenix Ballymena (Petrol station)
Wyse Byse have since kindly offered up the chance to win a £100 gift voucher for one of their stores, all you have to do is share an image of one of your favorite towns or independent retailers with the hashtag #IndieDayNI18 before 6th June for your chance to win.