FOR 40 years, Wyse Byse has been a vital element in Ballymena’s shopping ‘package’.
And in that time, the Church Street store has built a solid reputation based on the simple foundations of variety, value for money and most important of all, a commitment to providing top quality products in every department.
Still a determinedly independent enterprise, Wyse Byse can trace its roots in the town back to the old ‘Kingsland Variety Store’ - a name from the past which will bring a whimsical smile to the lips of many local people of a ‘certain generation’.
For many years, ‘Kingsland’ was Ballymena’s Aladdin’s Cave and no journey ‘down the town’ was complete without a browse amongst its packed shelves which offered all manner of items at big value prices.
However, in 1972, ‘Kingsland’ came up for sale and in stepped Northern Ireland businessmen, Richard and Jim McLoughlin, who recognised the growth potential which existed in Ballymena’s retail hub.
“We set out with the idea of giving customers a great choice of goods at the very best prices - but we also knew that while everyone loves a bargain, quality was vitally important too,” says Richard.
And so ‘Wyse Byse’ was born, and initally the firm traded from locations in Wellington Street, building up a sound customer base and gradually extending its offerings as more and more people came to recognise that buying from ‘Wyse Byse’ was, indeed, a smart move.
Unlike many of the latecomers to the Northern Ireland marketplace, ‘Wyse Byse’ traded through the darkest days of the troubles when town centres across the province were under the shadow of bombings and devastation, providing local people with jobs and adding to the town’s retail reputation as one of the best shopping towns in the province.
The year 1985 proved a landmark in ‘Wyse Byse’ history with the firm finally clinching a site on Church Street, then, as now, one of the most prestigious retail locations in Northern Ireland.
“You have to remember this was before the days of shopping centres and the introduction of the big national chains,” recalls Richard. “Getting that prime site on Church Street was a tremendous achievement and I’m proud to say that we have played our part in keeping Ballymena up amongst the best towns in Northern Ireland for shopping.”
With departments ranging from toys to top class furniture, ‘Wyse Byse’ remains one of the most popular independent stores in Ballymena largely thanks to an ethos which is still rooted in that original determination to provide value, variety and quality.
Looking to the future, Richard maintains that the emphasis on ‘real quality’ will be the most important element in maintaining customer loyalty.
“People come back to shop with you if past experience tells them that their money was well spent on an item which has stood up to the customer test. At ‘Wyse Byse’ we know that is what our reputation has been built on.
“We have witnessed many changes to the ‘high street’,” he adds. “Those changes have seen far too many towns becoming ‘clones’ - thankfully Ballymena still has a great on-street retail offering which makes shopping here a different experience. ‘Wyse Byse’ is proud to be part of it.”
To mark 40 years in business in Ballymena, ‘Wyse Byse’ will offer a great 10% discount for every £40 spent in store and with the festive season rapidly approaching there is no better time to ‘spend smart’!
And you can choose from a huge array of gift choices.
Prepare to spend a while as you take in and peruse the outstanding range of everyday essentials, luxury goods and gift items.
From toiletries to toys, stationery to pet supplies, kitchenware to candies & sweets, indoor lighting to outdoor items, Wyse Byse has them all - and much, much more - making it a one-stop shop for festive gift shopping.