Emersons to house Post Office and restaurant as part of £2M high street investment
By Eleanor McGillie
ARMAGH’S longest established family run supermarket has announced the Post Office is to move into its store as part of a £2million investment in the high street which will secure up to 150 jobs.
Emersons, which has been serving the local community for 125 years, is currently undergoing a major expansion programme, which will see the current supermarket expand into Walkers store on Market Street. The new store will incorporate the Post Office, a ground floor restaurant and a refurbishment of the supermarket.
The news, which was announced today (Monday) will bring the Post Office back into the heart of the city after its decision to relocate 160 metres, to Scotch Street, from its current site.
Emersons, which employs 110 people, was first opened by Henry Alexander Emerson in 1889. It was then passed to his son Newton Emerson then on to his son Henry and is now being run by Henry’s son Gavin.
Speaking about the expansion, Gavin Emerson said: “Armagh city centre is a special place for us so the expansion is our way of investing in the city centre’s future. We are always looking at ways to reinvest so we can build on our achievements to date, expand our services for our customers and build a sustainable future which not only creates jobs but also puts life back into our high street.
“The recession was a sad time when many businesses were forced to close their doors. Everyone felt the struggle but what was clear is the importance of local people supporting local businesses. We are celebrating 125 years this year so showing our customers in Armagh that we are reinvesting in our business, to enhance their customer experience, is very important to us.
“We are delighted the Post Office will be part of our story and look forward to the people of Armagh enjoying the accessibility of services the Post Office provides.”
Now the public consultation has ended, Post Office Ltd have confirmed that, once opened at the new location, the Post Office will be open an extra 28 hours per week for customers, which includes Sunday opening. It will offer a full range of Post Office services and customers will enjoy the convenient quick service at the open plan till.
Other advantages include free parking for Post Office customers in the Mall West car park for six months, customers will be able to pay bills, do banking, collect benefits and change travel money as well as use the postage, home shopping returns and Local Collect services.
Suzanne Richardson, Post Office Regional Network Manager, said Post Office Ltd have been working closely with, and will continue to work with the Consumer Council, over the coming months.
She said: “We received a large number of comments and two petitions from customers and local representatives during the public consultation and we worked with the Consumer Council to thoroughly review the proposal, including a joint visit to the new site to analyse the impact of the proposed move.
“I am confident the new branch will be suitably located, providing a modern new environment which will continue to meet customer needs, while helping to provide future sustainability for the service.”
Following the public consultation, Post Office Ltd says it has been working with the Consumer Council to investigate concerns raised around the ease of access and capacity at the new location, car parking and safe drop-off points in the area, particularly for customers with disabilities and wheelchair users. Post Office Ltd says it will continue to work with the Consumer Council during the first three months to ensure all processes put in place, at the new location, will continue to provide an efficient Post Office experience for all customers.
The new branch will have level access with wide, automatic entrance doors at the McCrum Court entrance and power-assisted doors will be fitted at the Scotch Street entrance before the new branch opens ensuring customer access meets Post Office Limited’s own standards of accessibility and all applicable legislation.
Inside the Post Office area will be clearly signposted and entrances and shopping aisles will be kept clear. Some fittings will be removed to ensure customers, including those with mobility difficulties and wheelchair users, have easy access to the Post Office services. To ensure that all customers’ needs have been considered, and, at the recommendation of the Consumer Council, Emerson’s and Post Office Ltd will meet with local disability groups in Armagh to discuss the layout and access to the Post Office.
Mr Emerson added: “This is an exciting move for the people of Armagh and for the sustainability of the high street. We are hoping the refurbishment will be completed by the end of November.”
Notes To Editor:
- Emersons is a family run supermarket which has been serving the local community for 125 years. The supermarket employs 110 people and is committed to creating a sustainable future on the high street in Armagh city centre.
- For further information contact Eleanor McGillie of MGMPR Ltd on 028 3756 9863 | 07709805379 | www.mgmpr.co.uk | Retail PR | Public Relations Northern Ireland | Public Relations UK | Brand Journalism Northern Ireland | Brand Journalism UK | Brand Journalism Experts | Think Local | Buy Local |