It’s a sign behind the times – about 20 years behind the times.
For this sign at Church Street (near the Kwik Fit premises) points the way to the Meadows Centre, to a supermarket that ceased to exist in the last century!
Stewarts Supermarket was the first grocery store at The Meadows.
It was a stand-alone store near the site currently occupied by McDonald’s, but closed in the late 1990s when the parent company was bought over by Tesco.
Tesco didn’t move into the Meadows immediately, but built onto the main building and opened 12 years ago.
But, according to the sign, Stewarts live on. Motorists are directed up Hanover Street and it is there that the trail goes cold. There is no sign of Stewarts and there hasn’t been since around 1997. It has nothing to do with the management at The Meadows – they are as confused as anyone else. It’s the responsibility of Transport NI. And when the Times told them that the sign was still in place two decades after Stewarts put up the ‘SOLD’ signs, they were rather bemused.
A TransportNI spokesperson issued the following statement.
“The ‘Car Park’ sign in Church Street, as well as at a number of other signs in the town centre, have been in place for quite a number of years.
“While it does not appear to have had any adverse impact on customers’ ability to locate a convenient car park, it is not usually the case that commercial names are used on this type of signage.
“Car parks in Portadown are now the responsibility of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council. TransportNI will consult with the council as to an appropriate name for this site. Any requirement to replace the existing sign will be considered against competing priorities and availability of resources.”