More than 100 join queue for opening of big charity store
More than 100 bargain hunters queued from early yesterday morning for the opening of Northern Ireland's first charity superstore in Belfast.
Cancer Research UK took over a huge 5,000 sq ft unit in the Cityside Retail Park, offering 14,000 items for sale - all priced at under £3.
The first customers were rewarded with some unique bargains, with many designer labels on sale alongside new clothes donated by Tesco.
The Belfast shop is the seventh superstore to be opened by the charity since last June and there are plans to open five more across the country later this year.
The shop also features a special room where people can have immediate access via a hotline telephone to a cancer nurse.
The private space offers respite for people living with a cancer diagnosis, as well as the reassurance of being able to speak to someone in complete confidence.
Cancer Research UK Superstore opening manager Fred Wing flew in from England for yesterday's launch and was overwhelmed by the response from local shoppers.
He said: "It is certainly one of the busiest openings we have had, with over 100 people queuing outside waiting for the shop to open.
"The feedback has been excellent and customers just seem to love it.
"The concept is to open superstores in retail parks or shopping centres with everything for sale at £3 and under and it has been a big success so far.
"We've had a few bargains today, with one gentleman buying a pair of Levi 501s for £2, and we've also had people pick up clothes by Tommy Hilfiger and Karen Millen."
The shop will open seven days a week, requiring 30 hours of volunteer support.
It is located in the main mall next to Home Bargains and has been kitted out to resemble a stylish boutique.
Cancer Research UK shops sell items donated by the public.
Some of the goods include books, toys, clothes and homeware, with the proceeds going towards the charity's cancer research.
Cityside recently underwent a £1.2m refurbishment and has just launched the next phase of the scheme, which will include a food court, restaurant and leisure opportunities on the first floor.
Cancer survivor Courtney Wedge with MLAs Paula Bradley and Gerry Kelly and Cancer Research UK area shop manager Kathryn Gallagher at the opening