Ballintoy's 'Wee Shop'

IT may have taken several years, but Ballintoy has at last got a new shop open all year round.

Wednesday, 17th February 2010, 12:24 pm

Since the closure of the Post Office and shop run by Bernie and Malachy McAfee, villagers have had to go to either Bushmills or Ballycastle for their basic needs. Not any more.

The 'Wee Shop', as it is now called, is open for business seven days a week and has been warmly welcomed by all in the area.

Mother and daughter, Eileen and Jennifer Magill, share the duties and both have been delighted with the public response.

Speaking to the Times on Saturday, Eileen said she had been overwhelmed by how the community had supported them.

"Everyone has given us their backing and we couldn't have asked for better," she said.

The Magills, who live in Ballycastle, took over the premises in November at a time when most 'advisors' urged them to wait until the busier summer period.

"We went ahead with it and we're so glad we did," Eileen said.

"We are, of course, looking forward to the better weather when hopefully there'll be plenty of tourists about, but our main concern is serving the needs of the local community."

The 'Wee Shop' sells everything from the basic groceries to sweets, newspapers and arts and crafts. Opening hours are from 9.15 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. Monday to Thursday and dthe shops remains open until 6 p.m. on a Friday. Saturday is 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Council chairperson, Cara McShane, who lives in Ballintoy, has called with Eileen and Jennifer to wish them well.

Jennifer is alreay known to locals after she managed the nearby Rope Bridge Restaurant.

Her mother said: "Jennifer was very familiar with people in the village and when we opened the shop, locals were very supportive for which we are very grateful."

Eileen spends much of her time painting and her work on local scenes can be purchased on the premises.