Play your part in Northern Ireland’s recovery, business owners urge employers

Employers are being encouraged to support the Northern Irish economy with their employee rewards and incentives, choosing local gift card options and giving staff access to a range of small businesses in Northern Ireland.

There are five local gift card schemes in Northern Ireland; the Causeway Coast and Glens Gift Card, the Antrim Town Gift Card, the Belfast City Centre Gift Card, the Enniskillen Gift Card and the In Strabane Gift Card.

The Causeway Coast and Glens Gift Card can be spent in over 200 businesses across the Borough, in Ballymoney, Ballycastle, Coleraine, Glens, Limavady and Portstewart, including at Moores in Coleraine and The White House in Portrush.

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Simon Colquhoun is the manager of Moores and The White House: “The White House in Portrush was established in 1891. Moores in Coleraine dates back to 1925, and is now in its third generation of family ownership.

Simon Colquhoun is the manager of Moores and The White House, part of the Causeway Coast & Glens Gift Card

“Moores and The White House offer menswear, womenswear, homeware, premium beauty and food in both stores. The stores offer a great mix of good, better and best brands, with well-known brands like White Stuff, Joules and Whistles in womenswear. Gant, Barbour International and Ted Baker in mens and premium beauty brands from Bare Minerals, Estee Lauder and Clarins alongside local products, local food and local artists.

“As two of the last Northern Irish Independent department stores in the area, we feel it is vital to give support back locally and that’s why we’re championing the Causeway Coast and Glens Gift Card. It locks money into the area, and ensures we can continue to employ local people. If someone receives a Causeway Coast and Glens Gift Card they can use it in a wide range of local businesses as easily as using a debit card, not only in shops but also on experiences. It gives people choice and flexibility.

“During the first lockdown we saw a massive shift towards online shopping and, sadly, many high street businesses closing as a result. Whilst our online businesses traded well our customers were missing that interaction with staff, a coffee as they shop and a chat.

“Retail therapy is called retail therapy for a reason, and you don’t get that same experience when you shop online. People will never get that lockdown time back, and as soon as customers were allowed to shop again we saw them rediscovering the high street again. Many realised the important part the high street plays in the local economy on multiple levels.

“During the second lockdown, we took the opportunity to refresh Moores and The White House, investing in the future. There has been a massive trend towards regional stores, people are not rushing into the city as much as they once did. We have had a big influx of tourists to the local area over the summer months, with many discovering what the Causeway Coast Area offers for the first time.

“When employers in Northern Ireland give their staff a Causeway Coast and Glens Gift Card, it’s great for staff but more importantly it shows you’re playing your part in Northern Ireland’s recovery.”

The five Northern Irish gift card programmes are part of the award winning Town and City Gift Cards scheme from fintech Miconex.

Managing director of Miconex Colin Munro said local gift cards are an easy way for employers to reward staff: “The UK trivial benefits scheme enables organisations to give staff a tax-free non cash reward of up to £50. Gift cards make sense but local gift cards that support local businesses make even more sense.”