Businesses buy into taster sessions

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PROPRIETORS and senior managers from nine businesses in Banbridge town centre have expanded their retail knowledge.

They have completed six taster training sessions, which were inspired by retail guru Mary Portas and delivered in conjunction the World Host suite of customer service training.

Banbridge District Council organised this free training to support the local retail sector and help them overcome the challenges they face in the current climate.

Representing a good cross-section of the local retail sector, all participating businesses have been amazed by how much they have learnt and the new ideas they have picked up.

Surprisingly, long-established businesses such as Houstons, J.A. Lyttle and Lunneys got as much out of the course as the newer Hat Heaven.

Other businesses to receive the training were Total Hockey, Downshire Caravans, Goldmine Jewellers, Angelic Bridal and MII Clothing.

Participants attended a two-hour session each week and covered a range of different topics including customer service, service-powered sales, frontline management, buying and visual merchandising, increasing sales through marketing and retail business planning.

Total Hockey proprietor Alan McMurray said: “With many years of retail experience to draw on, I wasn’t sure if I would gain anything from this training. But I’m really glad I took part because it’s made me look differently at how I run my business. I’ve picked up some good ideas on how to improve customer satisfaction and better manage stock levels. I’m going to speak to other retailers I know and advise them to sign up for this training. It’s good to see initiatives such as this being supported and delivered by Banbridge District Council.”

Mechelle Brown, Council Arts, Events and Town Centre Manager, added: “We’re doing all we can we support the retail core in Banbridge as well as other towns in the district. We’ll aim to deliver further training opportunities in the coming months. I would encourage other retailers in Banbridge to speak to someone who took part in the training and hear first-hand about their experience.”

The Council is keen to offer this training to other retailers in Banbridge. Any business owner who is interested in participating in new series of taster sessions should call 4062 0250.