The countdown to Christmas has begun and with only four weeks remaining before the big day, Larne residents are being encouraged to look closer to home when shopping for items on Santa’s wish list.
In a bid to support local businesses during the most competitive and crucial sales period of the year, Larne Council has joined forces with Larne Alive committee and the local traders forum to launch the DEAL-ightful Christmas shopping campaign.
The initiative, which is being fully funded by local businesses and a host of sponsors, aims to promote Larne as an exciting shopping destination, where local people can find what they are looking for without the need to travel outside the town. The organisers also hope to draw people away from other busy shopping areas such as Belfast or Ballymena.
To get the message out to people across the borough, shopping and events guides will be delivered to about 20,000 homes and will also be available in a number of shops. These booklets feature a variety of vouchers, advertisements and promotions for local businesses, as well as details of upcoming Christmas switch-ons and other festive events across the borough.
And for the first time, Larne’s Christmas shopping campaign will be advertised on TV and radio across the Province. A dedicated website (www.dealightfulchristmas.co.uk) for the scheme will also be set up.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign at the Mayor’s Parlour last Wednesday, town development manager Hazel Bell said: “Our aim is to get across to people that it pays to shop local. There are some fantastic deals to be found in the town this year, and with so many great products at affordable prices, you may just find what you are looking for right on your own doorstep.
“The support of our two main sponsors - FG Wilson and Port of Larne - is much appreciated. Our thanks also goes out to Additude Creative for designing this campaign, and to UTV and U105 for their help.”
Larne Mayor, Councillor Bobby McKee said the scheme was “a wonderful example of people working together in difficult times”.
He added: “Larne has a lot to offer both local residents and visiting shoppers and we welcome everyone to share our Christmas experience.
“I have to believe that this will be my last Christmas as mayor, and I am looking forward to a successful campaign.”
John Shannon, chairman of Larne Traders Forum hoped the message of the DEAL-ightful campaign would appeal to everyone.
“These are challenging times for retailers, and it is vitally important that the people of Larne support local businesses. We are ready to serve the public with a wide variety of goods at competitive prices.
“It is also important to remember that if you travel somewhere like the Abbeycentre to do your Christmas shopping, you have to factor in the cost of petrol. By shopping locally in our vibrant town centre, not only will you be saving time and money, you will also receive great customer service, which is often not found in some of the bigger shops.
“Larne shops have ordered in their stock for the festive rush and are preparing for a bumper Christmas. Hopefully we will not have the added difficulty of the icy weather to contend with this year!” he concluded.