ABC Council supports local retail sector with ‘Grow Your Town Centre Business’ masterclasses

Free ‘Grow Your Town Centre Business’ masterclasses are being delivered by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council as part of a wider co-ordinated, targeted and robust approach to improve the competitiveness, attractiveness and vitality of the borough’s town centres.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Julie Flaherty and Chair of the Business Partnership Alliance (BPA) Adrian Farrell

These masterclasses, which are part funded by the Department for Communities, will be hosted by NI broadcaster and media expert Sarah Travers, and have been designed to help local retail businesses learn from highly knowledgeable and very successful practitioners specialising within different areas of retail.

Daryl Conway, an award-winning Digital Marketing Consultant who has managed and delivered high profile digital marketing support programmes including #optimise2, Mid Ulster Online and Do Mobile will speak about using social media to boost footfall and sales.

Caroline O’Neill, owner of DIGG Childrenswear – an online destination for leading brands in kidswear – and founder of DIGG for Success which helps small businesses navigate the digital world – will speak about improving the customer experience and how retailers can succeed in an increasingly competitive environment.

Mags McAlpin, founder of Creating Retail Magic, NI’s leading visual merchandising and retail consultancy providing expertise in merchandising, window displays and theming events for a range of leading retail clients, will speak about optimising visual merchandising.

Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Councillor Julie Flaherty said, “We are delighted to be able to deliver masterclasses that include presentations from leading experts that can help businesses grow in a rapidly changing and challenging retail environment. I would encourage all local retail businesses to attend one of these events because it will help them to adapt to changing consumer demands, embrace digital technology, and provide a positive customer experience.”

The Department for Communities (DfC) has contributed £25,000 towards the masterclass events. Lynne McDonald from DfC said, “The Department is pleased to provide financial support towards these events which will help to support local traders (many of whom are independently owned), in expanding their knowledge and experience in using digital tools to develop their existing business.”

Adrian Farrell, Chair of the Business Partnership Alliance (BPA), added, “We work with many independent retailers and other town centre businesses across the borough and we understand the pressures they face. Through these masterclasses, we believe that local retail businesses will be better equipped with the skills they need and will have a competitive advantage when it comes to retaining and attracting customers and growing sales.”

Business owners and anyone working within the local retail sector can book a masterclass in a location of their choosing. The first masterclass will be held in Banbridge Old Town Hall on Tuesday 12 March, followed by the Seagoe Hotel, Portadown on Wednesday 20 March and the Market Place Theatre, Armagh on Thursday 21 March. Each masterclass will run from 6pm until 9pm.

Participants will be able to put questions relating to their own business to the experts, thereby making these events more engaging and richer learning experiences.

To book your place at one of the masterclasses, register at or contact Derek Browne from Insight Business Solutions on 07968 343325.

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