Name: Noelle McAloon
Business Name: Enniskillen BID (Business Improvement District)
Business Location: Enniskillen
How long have you been in business? Enniskillen BID was established in early 2017 and we have a five year business plan to deliver to improve trading conditions in the town.
What would you say are your strengths? The strength of BID is that it is funded solely by the businesses in Enniskillen and we invest all income back into Enniskillen to fund projects that help the economy. Our Enniskillen Gift Card is the top selling gift card in the UK with our sales now over £150,000. This money is locked into the town and anyone who has purchased it is really showing great loyalty to Enniskillen!
What would you say are your weaknesses? High streets are changing so rapidly and what consumers want from the high street is also evolving rapidly. Big online retailers are clearly a huge threat to the high street, but we see now that many of our local businesses have developed their own online presence. We hope our local consumers will try to support high street businesses either online or by shopping in store! To address this BID have developed the Mi Rewards Shop & Win Loyalty programme that will reward shoppers who shop in Enniskillen! This is our new innovative approach to promote our high street shops.
How has Covid-19 affected the town centre both negatively/positively? The government lockdown back in March was a huge shock to business owners initially and empty streets were a necessary but very sad reality. Essential shops remained open and staff showed great resilience to adapt to a different world. Many businesses showed great compassion for their community during the crisis by offering
The businesses in Enniskillen have worked hard to make shopping as safe an experience as possible with social distancing signage, PPE and sanatisation. It is important that our consumers have the confidence to come into town and shop knowing they are safe.
What makes your business unique? Enniskillen is unique for several reasons, including it being the only island town in Ireland. Enniskillen enjoys the benefits of tourists because of its location on Lough Erne. We were the first town in NI to have a Gift Card and we now launch Mi Rewards Enniskillen as the first town loyalty programme in NI. BID aim to make Enniskillen stand out from other towns with the focus on our consumers. Shop & Win with Mi Rewards Enniskillen rewards customers that spend money in Enniskillen!
What are your plans for the future? We are looking to Christmas 2020 and trying to support our retailers while ensuring staff and customers feel safe. We hope that people will support our local businesses particularly this Christmas, knowing the flexibility local businesses give having seen evidence of this during lockdown – so please support these local businesses for the remainder of 2020. We will launch Mi Rewards on 1 October with some amazing prizes to be announced soon!
What would your advice be for anyone starting out in your industry? We think Enniskillen continues to offer opportunities for young entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, like other towns, we saw a few businesses relocate out of town, however there were a number of new business ventures opening during the summer. We want to help new businesses with setting up in Enniskillen and are offering support to entrepreneurs who see opportunity here.
How do you like to relax? The BID team thoroughly enjoyed the Eat Out to Help Out initiative during August and sampled the offerings in almost every eatery in the town! Hence our packed schedule of keep fit in September to work off the calories consumed in August.
We might be limited in our travel at the moment but where is your favourite holiday destination? There really is everything for a perfect holiday in Fermanagh, with access to boating on the lough with Erne Boat Hire or the Water Taxi, to the amazing Enniskillen Taste Experience, water activity throughout the county including canoeing around the island town, fabulous walks and hikes and top class cafes and restaurants.
And finally take the chance to give a shout out to another local business who you think is doing great things: We commend all local businesses in Enniskillen who have reopened and welcomed shoppers and visitors since lockdown was eased. They have enjoyed seeing new and familiar faces and seeing the town alive again during the summer. So many have diversified, adapted and added to their offering in the face of this unique global situation, we applaud them all!
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