East Belfast businessman Robin Mercer has praised the Northern Ireland Executive’s Department for the Economy on implementing the High Street Scheme as applications for Spend Local pre-paid cards begin to be processed.
The managing director of Hillmount has experienced firsthand the devastating impact of the pandemic on business over the past 18 months and says he believes the long awaited scheme will be welcomed by local business owners across the country.
Robin Mercer, Managing Director of Hillmount, said: “Now that the High Street Scheme is open, we are looking forward to welcoming the first shoppers with their Spend Local pre-paid card into Hillmount stores in Ards, Bangor and Belfast. The Northern Ireland Executive is to be commended on bringing the scheme to fruition as I truly believe it will give our local economy and independent business owners a much needed boost.
“I’ve been in garden retail for 50 years and I can honestly say that I have never experienced anything like the worry I have endured in the past 18 months. From the impact of the pandemic and having to close our doors and furlough our dedicated staff with the uncertainty surrounding if or when we would be reopening, to the added challenges regarding the delivery of goods into Northern Ireland following Brexit. Like many business owners across the country there have been plenty of sleepless nights. It really has been the toughest of times, so it warms my heart when I see customers cautiously venturing into the garden centre again.
“I am hopeful that the Spend Local pre-paid card will bring more people into the garden centre to kick start their Christmas shopping or to treat themselves – let’s face it, we all deserve a little treat amidst the gloom. As we can’t give customers who choose to redeem their Spend Local pre-paid card with us a cuddly hug due to social distancing, we are going to give them a cuddly teddy bear to take home as a small token of our appreciation to them for choosing to support our family with their spend.”
Hillmount is blooming with ways for shoppers to spend their £100 Spend Local pre-paid card. Shoppers can browse for plants, garden furniture, fire pits and flame towers, barbecues, compost, bird food, gifts for all the family and even Christmas decorations.
To find out more about the High Street Scheme and to apply for a Spend Local pre-paid card visit: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/high-street-scheme-spend-local-pre-paid-card.
Browse online before visiting Hillmount at www.hillmount.co.uk; follow Hillmount on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/hillmountgardencentre/ and on instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hillmountbelfast/.