AFTER a career spanning nearly four decades, a Ballymoney businessman has decided to pack up and call it a day!
A familiar face around the borough, Rea Esler of Bravallen Road, who once owned the town’s most successful supermarket in Queen Street, is being forced to close his second-hand indoor market store on Charles Street due to ‘spiralling’ rent and rates costs.
Mr. Esler, whose second hand goods business attracted many bargain hunters who wanted household items at prices they could afford, says he has had enough and is currently clearing out his stock.
Speaking to Niamh Burns of The Ballymoney and Moyle Times, Rea explained: “I sell everything and anything from sofa’s to vacuums, to watches and books and they’re all at discounted and affordable prices. However due to expensive and spiralling costs of rent and rates, I have decided to close down my shop.
“I’ll obviously be sad to see the shop close as I enjoy the craic and banter from my customers but needs must. The economic climate really isn’t helping local businesses and people are finding it tough to make ends meet.
“However it’s not only the rates and rent hike that’s to blame, I have also decided to wind down and call it a day due to many health.”
Rea has been at the forefront of many local businesses over the past 35 years including many successful establishments from tuck shops to ice-cream vans, to cafes and most famously Elsers Newsagents of Main Street, which won ‘Newsagents of the Year’.
He continued: “Ballymoney has been good to me and so to have the people. I have had many successful businesses including Elsers Newsagents and would like to thank everyone for their support and commitment over the years.
“Open every Wednesday and Saturday from 10am-4pm, my second-hand shop has become a little treasure chest for the people of Ballymoney and, over the years, I think people have enjoyed calling in to see me as much as I have loved seeing them.
“However it’s time to call it a day and I’m now clearing out. Everything is half price and I am looking for as much stock to be sold on as soon as possible since we are closing at the end of August.
“Like I say, I’ll miss working in Ballymoney. It has been a great experience over the years and I have a great many memories and wee funny stories which I’ll cherish forever.”
Local MLA, Mervyn Storey, has said Rea would be missed by many.
He added: “I have many fond memories of Rea and the various locations that he has traded from in Ballymoney. My first recollection is when he operated out of what is the former Chinese restaurant in Charles Street, as Rea’s Mini Market. He, at that time, also had the ice cream van and I can remember almost yearly visiting his van at the Aul Lammus Fair in Ballycastle.
“He then moved to Queen Street in the town and it was from there that I religiously picked up my morning paper before heading to work in the Agivey Bacon Factory. Those mornings were filled with many happy memories and Rea was always at the centre of the fun.
“I look upon him as a very dear friend and his presence as a local trader in Ballymoney will be greatly missed. It is the passing of an erea. I wish him and Pamela every blessing for whatever the future holds.”