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How Longford is the first town in Ireland to embrace Black Friday

There will be late night banks, 65 retailers offering discounts and free parking this Friday in Longford

Image: Dominic Lipinski

LONGFORD HAS GONE all USA and is claiming to be the only Irish town that will officially celebrate Black Friday this week.

The Longford Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with 65 local businesses to offer a range of discounts this Friday, as well as late night shopping and free parking in the town.

Black Friday traditionally happens the day after the Thanksgiving Day holiday in the US and since the early 2000s it has been seen as the beginning of the US shopping season.

Retailers offer big discounts and in recent years the day has spread outside of the USA with Irish retailers offering a big range of in-store and online discounts.

YE Top 10 Business Stories Shoppers in the USA check out competitors prices while stocking up Source: Associated Press

But this is the first time an entire town in Ireland has committed to celebrating the event.

Longford Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Lisa Brady told TheJournal.ie that the campaign was organised to show people the strength and competitiveness of Longford retailers.

“We were looking at a number of different ways of approaching the event, and felt that a one-off campaign would really pay off for the retailers.”

Brady said that Longford Town had suffered financially in the years since the recession, and that a large number of businesses had closed down in recent times.

“We’ve had an awful lot of business closures,” she said.

“There’s so much competition with the big retailers and with online shopping these days and there’s a fear that if we don’t do something for ourselves nobody is going to come in and do it for us.”

The campaign will coincide with the official turning on of the Christmas Street Lights that evening, and banks as well as retailers will stay open later than usual.

The campaign has kick-started the Longford Chamber Twitter account too, with tweets being sent out last Wednesday after two years of silence.

A social media campaign is being organised by transition year students from the local secondary school, Scoil Mhuire.

While retailers in other towns will be offering discounts and promotions on the days, Brady said that Longford is the only town to be going all-out.

“We’re the only town that have literally every business on board,” she said.

“I know that there were other towns doing it, but not to our scale.”

The goal is get people interested in shopping in Longford, where retailers say that they can offer the same value as their big name competitors.

“Visit Longford when you get a chance,” said Brady.

“We’re not as bad as we’re purported to be.”

Read: People were literally pulling bargains out of each other’s hands this morning

Read: Irish consumers had their best Christmas for seven years

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Cormac Fitzgerald

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