Eason and son – A Flagship store

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Right in the middle of Belfast Book Festival, the City centre has got a brand new mega bookstore on Donegal Place. After a £1 million investment, the Eason store has moved up the street into the old WHSmith site and created an innovative and modern new space to relax, read and shop.

On Thursday I headed to the launch night for a preview of the company’s new flagship store, and what a difference. They have doubled their existing space in Belfast and created a book lovers heaven.

The first impression I got when walking in the front door was the space, it just looks bigger, brighter and more colourful. But heading downstairs is where you find the main focus of the store. A number of departments have been created including kids, young adults, body&soul, a gift department with a big tree as the focal point, an e-store, and tucked in the corner is a 42 seater Costa Coffee Café. In its previous life I always thought downstairs had a lot of wasted space, but now, you could easily spend a good part of the day exploring, relaxing, reading and shopping in this wonderful new space.

The old store, just down the road, closes as this new one opens, and to celebrate the opening, today (Saturday) is celebration day. CoolFM will be in store from 1pm and expect a party atmosphere with street performers and fun all afternoon.

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As much as the new store is really quite special and has already been described by some as their new favourite shop, I do have a few questions.

I didn’t notice a Ticketmaster outlet, maybe I missed it in all the excitement of the night. Please don’t be closed as it was my one stop shop for concert tickets!

In the gift shop, I didn’t notice anything made in Ireland? The number of local people making great and sometimes quite genius locally themed products didn’t appear to be represented. Local makers like Tee and Toast, Arbee Cards, FlaxFox make products with would be a perfect fit for Eason in Belfast….just saying.

Overall though, great launch night in a great store from a company ready and willing to move into the future and to spend £8million investing and developing its stores in Northern Ireland.

**P.S. Note to Easons – My Belfast themed cards and Keep er Lit cards would be perfect for this store! 😉 **

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Conor Whelan, Managing Director, Eason is joined by Belfast-born novelist Glenn Patterson at the opening of the new £1m Eason flagship store at 40-46 Donegall Place Belfast

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