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Work to start on former Linton and Robinson store next week

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Work to start on former Linton and Robinson store next week thumbnailThe former Linton and Robinson store at Abercorn Square Strabane which has been bought by House Proud Furnishings Ltd

THE former Linton and Robinson premises in Strabane is set to receive a new lease of life starting next week when work will begin on incorporating it into part of the chain of stores owned by Northern Ireland's biggest independent furniture retailers.

House Proud Furnishings Ltd. has confirmed not only have they bought the building but that they intend to renovate it into a brand new multi-purpose store.

The company has been in existence for approximately nine years and this will be their newest store with others in Omagh, Portadown, Newtownards, Lisburn, Bangor, Banbridge, Ballymena and Belfast.

They import a lot of the goods they sell themselves which helps them be one of the most competitive firms around.

The former Linton and Robinson department store on the town's Abercorn Square was not only an iconic and very successful business, it added tremendous stature to the Strabane economy when in full flight.

It was initially put on the market back in 2013 after the company went into liquidation and while offers were made, none reached the desired asking price.

Over the years the business thrived but like so many others in recent times, the recession and downturn in the econmy hit hard.

In recent years, the family-owned firm has struggled amid falling customer numbers. In 2010, plans to develop Linton and Robinson to an online-only business were abandoned, with the company instead opting to maintain its two stores with a reduced workforce.

The administrators were called in back in 2013 and the premises closed.

 One of the company directors with the new owners, Paul Connolly, said this week that despite rumours that had been circulating locally, the firm had not released any details of their plans for the store until now.

 

He confirmed that not only had they bought the premises but they were moving in next week to start renovation work. The 28,242 sq ft building would be divided into different units and as well as the usual range of goods on sale such as sofas, matresses, furniture for the bedroom, living room dining room, there would also be scope for a coffee shop, giftware and electrical sections.

"We've had the keys for Strabane since mid-July but we couldn't get touching it until we finished work on our new store in Belfast which opened last Friday. We're going down next week to look around."

 Mr Connolly said it was initially hoped to employ around 13 people in their store, the other sections being let out would also be taking on new people so it was difficult to say at this stage exactly how many would be employed in the overall building.

He added they were attracted to Strabane because they were always looking to expand their business.

"The shop was a good size and it's in a part of the country we have been looking to get into and there's nobody able to touch our prices. The renovation work will start at the end of next week. There's a lot to do but we hope to have the business up and running within a reasonable length of time, definitely before the end of the year."

He revealed the company had just been passed for using 0 per cent finance in the south and nobody else had that so they were hoping to use that to attract cross border trade also.

He added the company was keen to hear from anyone interested in a job and they should send their cv to accounts@houseproudfurnishings.com for an application form.

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