The progressive jewellers Argento are preparing to open a store in Portadown.
The firm has advertised for a store manager, an assistant and retail staff for the store that is due to open soon at 15 Market Street, beside the Card Factory (formerly Jeffers).
The firm’s marketing department is saying little about the move, but the adverts are online and neighbouring retailers in West Street have confirmed that a move is imminent.
And Stevenson and Cumming, the Mandeville Street letting agents for the premises, have confirmed that they are “let agreed, but for professional reasons we cannot say any more”.
Argento, headed by Tyrone man Pete Boyle, is one of Ulster’s most go-ahead retail outlets, with an extremely busy unit in Craigavon’s Rushmere. They are the UK and Ireland’s foremost Pandora agents, although they sell many other ranges.
They are reported to have 40 outlets in the British Isles, the first having been in Belfast, where Mr Boyle started selling jewellery from a market stall.
The Belfast store proved so successful that he branched out all over the province including Lisburn, Craigavon, Omagh and many more, plus Glasgow, Cork and Leicester.
The news of the planned Portadown store comes as welcome news, with a number of shops in the town centre having closed recently.
Said Tony Fearon, secretary of Portadown Chamber of Commerce, “It’s excellent news that a brand as prestigious and go-ahead as Argento is looking at the town centre. Hopefully, it will be a harbinger of things to come and that they will prompt others to move to Portadown.
“Argento are such a prestigious firm and their presence will breathe new life into that part of Portadown and hopefully the rest of the town centre will also benefit.”
Meanwhile, plans for The Academy Hair and Beauty Training School in High Street are continuing apace.
A recruitment open day was held on Monday to recruit stylists and beauty therapists.
The new building will be located beside the associated Franklin’s shop (just down from High Street Mall) which sells a selection of beauty and hair products.
The double retail boost for Portadown comes hot on the heels of the successful free parking day on the last Saturday before Christmas.
A survey conducted by Craigavon Borough Council showed that shoppers stayed in the town longer to shop because of the free parking.
A considerable number also admitted they were only shopping in town because of the initiative which was an idea from the council.