High Street Stimulus Scheme may come too late for some stores – Wicker Man to close after 27 years
The High Street voucher scheme will happen late summer but it may be coming too late for some independent retailers. News that one of Belfast’s best loved retailers, The Wicker Man on High Street is set to close after 27 years may be an indicator of what’s to come for other locally owned retailers.
The specialist craft shop opened in 1994, and championed the work of local artists and crafts people. It was loved by both tourists and locals, however the founders – both jewellery makers – have decided not to renew their lease for a combination of factors.
Specialist arts, craft, gift shops are just one of the sectors that have been hit hard by the pandemic – and so the Economy Minister’s High Street Stimumus scheme is being welcomed by many – with traders across GB asking for the same or a similar scheme to be rolled out there.
The Northern Ireland scheme means every person aged 18 and over will be eligible to apply for a pre-paid card worth £100 to spend in their local high street. The money must be spent in bricks and mortar shops, and is designed to help retailers and outlets impacted by the pandemic to recover – to help breathe life back in to the high streets when conditions allow.