Independent retailer completes £100,000 refurb to encourage shoppers back to town centre

A destination store in Lurgan has completed a multi-storey, £100,000 refurbishment.

Saturday, 1st May 2021, 10:16 am
Carol Little, owner of Alana Interiors

Owners of Alana Interiors, Carol and Ian Little invested in an overhaul of the store and café to provide a more spacious and safer store experience in the wake of the pandemic, in the hope that more people will come out and support their local town centres and small businesses.

Carol, who has run the store for the past 25 years, more recently with her daughter Libby and a team of 40 says not only did they need to invest to reflect the way people are shopping, but what they are shopping for.

Carol said: “Alana Interiors has always sold homeware, from cushions and candles to dining and sofas, alongside a huge range of some of the top fashion labels in the world, but the way we live at home has now changed forever, while open plan living surged in the past decade, we’re now considering our own needs for space and how we work, socialise and live in our homes.

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“The most recent lockdown gave us the perfect opportunity to slightly pivot our business and invest in the look of our store and grow our homeware ranges. Shopper safety and trust is also forefront in our minds, so we need to create that safe space for them to shop and get back out there to support our small towns and villages and the businesses that operate in them.”

The investment includes an entirely new fit-out of the two-floor retail space and the first-floor café, adapting and refitting the space from serve-over counter to table service, fitting in with Covid restriction guidelines. There will be a small number of outdoor tables available from April 30 alongside the current takeaway service before the upstairs café reopens on May 24.

Carol continued: “We have looked at current trends and created an outdoor living area with a range of products for the garden, outdoor dining and entertaining as we know outdoor socialising is key for this summer. These changes will help future proof our business by keeping up with consumer behaviour and trends and we can further evolve throughout the summer and into winter.”

After the latest announcement by the NI Executive that non-essential retail can reopen, Carol says she hopes shoppers here will help their local towns bounce back: “This has been the most challenging four months of all the restrictions, especially when small businesses have seen bigger multiples start to move into their territory. Now is the time for us to show the resilience that the independent retail sector in Northern Ireland has and for our local shoppers to trust that we will be there to provide a safe and reliable service.

“We know our customers are excited to get back through the doors and we can’t wait to welcome them and hopefully meet some new faces too.”

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