Belfast Telegraph

Ferguson's set to bloom again as flower shop relocates to suburbs

by clare weir

A Family-owned florists which has battled back from the brink has relocated from Belfast city centre after almost 30 years.

Ferguson's first opened on the Newtownards Road in 1939 as a confectionery shop and in 1974 began to sell flowers, eventually spreading to 15 premises including Wellington Place.

It is now making a return to the east of the city, citing a rise in internet shopping, a decline in footfall, high rent and rates, and the knock-on effect of the winter 2011.

Almost two years ago the brothers behind the firm told the Belfast Telegraph how the bitter winter had destroyed their business.

Shoppers were trapped in their homes and lorries full of flowers for the festive period were turned to mush after temperatures of -15 and -16 were followed by a dramatic thaw. David Ferguson said Belmont Road, where the new store is located, enjoys a thriving village atmosphere.

"The move has been great for our business, and we have increased our staffing levels as a result." he said. "Our move to back to east Belfast has really brought Ferguson's full circle. We left the high street as the internet boomed, but in more recent times customers have embraced local shops and are showing more support to local businesses in their community. For the moment, we have the perfect balance."

In 1995, Mr Ferguson purchased the web domain www.ferguson for only £25.

He added: "Offering an online option for purchasing and sending flowers was a tremendous step forward for Ferguson's and within 10 years 60% of the business had moved to online. Today, 80% of our orders are placed online."

Belfast Telegraph