An air of renewed anticipation is certain to linger in-store upon the reopening of Burgess on Monday next, June 22.
Serving the local business community since 1839, the independent department store will, following nine weeks of closure, open its Church Street doors at 11am as a semblance of normality returns to the heart of Athlone.
Speaking to the Athlone Advertiser this week, Managing Director, Rosie Boles, detailed her aspirations as Burgess prepares to welcome customers on Monday morning.
“We reopen on Monday with renewed enthusiasm. The period of lockdown closure has afforded us the opportunity to refresh and refurbish the store and we look forward to displaying our new look layout to our customers from Monday morning,” Rosie remarked.
All departments within Burgess will now be located on one floor with access to the store solely via the Church Street main entrance.
“Our Lloyd’s Lane store entrance is closed momentarily with homeware products moved to the main floor, while our lingerie department in which we take much pride will also feature prominently upon entering the store,” Rosie commented.
Having initially closed to custom on March 16, Rosie expressed her concern that staff members, of which there is 11 in total, would be financially impacted, but welcomed the Government’s decision to provide employee payment assistance during lockdown.
“The Government payment schemes and grant initiatives have been most welcome and have helped to allay financial concerns during such unprecedented times. As a staff unit we are in regular contact via WhatsApp and all employees are eagerly awaiting a return to the store floor on Monday,” Rosie emphasised.
Rosie noted the ongoing support afforded by Retail Excellence during the store’s closure and is encouraging customers to shop local as businesses continue to reopen.
“Customers need to support and shop local as businesses strive to recover from an economic perspective. What this period of lockdown closure has highlighted is that all that customers desire to purchase is within the community,” Rosie asserted.
Burgess provided a ‘click and collect’ service in recent months and are presently in the process of developing a website to promote their vast department offerings to a wider audience.
“We are now residing in a changed business world. While welcoming a regular local customer base, we would also be reliant upon tourists passing through Athlone and calling in for a browse and possible purchase - will such clientele be in a position to call this year? I am of the ‘glass half full’ mindset and look forward to a regular trade returning to the store,” Rosie added.
With the necessary implementation of public health guidelines, Burgess will have store personnel advising customers at the Church Street entrance with adherence to safety regulations paramount.
“Our customer’s health and safety is most important. As we eagerly look forward to reopening on Monday morning and displaying our new look store, this ethos will be a vital component of how we serve the community in the coming times.
“We will operate shorter opening hours (11am-5pm ) for an initial period of time and hopefully, should relevant guidelines permit, Burgess will soon provide a regular business community service as the summer season progresses,” Rosie concluded.