Belfast Telegraph

Closure comes as huge shock to neighbouring businesses

By John Mulgrew

Everyone knows Sam's Yer Man. That's the consensus on the ground on the Holywood Road in east Belfast where founder Sam Duff had drawn trade for his business S&R Electric Ltd for decades.

But yesterday, the lights were out and no one was home.

The iconic electrical store - situated on the busy east Belfast road - is hard to miss, with its prominent red-brick facade, 'big big discounts' signs and big name electrical branding.

With the shutters down, and the phones ringing out, many other nearby businesses were concerned as to what had happened to the area's best-known business.

It's now known the giant of electrical goods in Belfast for more than 30 years has ceased trading - putting 20 staff out of work.

Close by the landmark showroom, hairdresser Karen Sloan - who has been working in the area for 10 years - said: "I'm really sorry to hear about it. I really am surprised.

"I didn't notice, because I was busy. And this lady said to me, 'Is Sam's Yer Man not open today? That's unusual. There's something not right there'.

"I had heard from a few girls that worked in it who said things weren't going very well."

Just a couple of businesses down, John Watson, who works for Prestige Trophies said the company was a familiar fixture in the Holywood Road area. "When people ring here, we tell them we are next door to S&R Electric. Everyone knows Sam's Yer Man," he said.

Vanessa Dodds - whose family bakery sits directly across from the electrical retailer - said since the shutters had fallen on the east Belfast business, it had set tongues wagging in the area. Her daughter Nicole added it was a "big surprise".

Sharon Crowe from Madison's sandwich shop, just metres away from the business said: "All day, Sam's Yer Man is closed. And we actually thought there was a death - but he opens all the time. That's what we thought."

William Gray from the area said: "It's somewhere you could get good electrical goods, and they are cheaper than most. It looks like they are away. I would be sad to see the business go."

The east Belfast site had grown to include another furniture business at the back of the well-known spot.

The quiet and emptiness also extended to Newtownards, where S&R Electric runs another large outlet.

As with their flagship Belfast store, there was no sign of life yesterday afternoon.

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