WEST Belfast’s well-known retail and leisure destination, The Park Centre, is celebrating 30 years in business, having opened its doors to the public in 1985.
Located on the Donegall Road just off Broadway roundabout, the 11 acre site is situated on the grounds of the former Belfast Celtic F.C.
In between times, it also enjoyed a spell as a boxing venue and a greyhound track, before it was acquired by a property developer and turned into what is now the Park Centre.
Over the past number of years the Centre has benefited from in excess of £10m investment into new facilities and two extensions to increase the current retail units to 35.
Its anchor tenants include Dunnes Stores, Peacocks, Subway, Boots, Thomas Cook, New Look and Iceland. Earlier this year it also welcomed three new stores, DQF, Home Solutions and a Post Office.
One retailer, Louis Boyd has been there since it opened and its owner Martin Boyd reflects on its time in the Centre.
He said: “Our core customers come from the local community, but we also get custom from people travelling into the area visiting friends or relatives.
“Like any retail business we have faced challenges over the past 30 years, but our ability to understand what our customers want and tailor our products to suit them has served us well. For example we now sell more branded clothing such as Tommy Hilfiger, which has attracted a new type of customer into the store.
“We plan to continue trading in the Park Centre and are considering a refresh of the current store in the future.”
The Park Centre has been instrumental in supporting a range of grass roots charity, educational and community projects and this is one of the reasons for its success in the area.
Centre Manager for the Park Centre, Chris Newton said: “The main reason why the Park Centre has been so successful is due to the support it has received from the local community.
“A business and its local community cannot survive without each other, so we have constantly re-evaluated and adapted the way we do business to suit our core customers. Over the past 30 years, the Park Centre has shown that it is more than just a product, it has added value – be it with a better customer experience, excellent customer service or by offering shoppers value for money.
“I am confident that the Centre can survive long into the future if it sticks to this mantra and tailors its offering to suit what its loyal customers want.”