Northern Ireland’s award-winning Downe Travel is to open a second agency – its first retail expansion in 28 years.
The new store will open in Ballynahinch in the coming months, 10 miles from the multi-time TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies regional champion’s original store in Downpatrick.
Director Paul Gallagher told TTG the new town-centre premises were undergoing a “complete refit”, with the company in the process of recruiting four staff to run it. It will be “modern and fresh” – in-keeping with Downe’s current style – and has three large windows.
He said: “This is very exciting for us, and sends out the message that the independent agent is very much open for business.
“In the past year we’ve been getting some business from that area [Ballynahinch] and we felt it was the right time to have a presence there for our existing customers, as well as new ones.”
Gallagher explained the move was also part of the business’s commitment to supporting market towns.
“We want people to shop local. We are a family business and are employing local people.”
Gallagher said the retail expansion marked the agency’s “next chapter”, adding he would not rule out further store additions down the line.
“All credit to our staff,” he added, “they’re the ones who have got us to where we are today.”
Downe Travel was named top agency in Northern Ireland at TTG Top 50 Travel Agencies in both 2018 and 2019.