The people and businesses that make up the "close-knit community" in Glengormley – Belfast Live

“It’s more like a wee family and the customers here are so loyal and will always come back and use us.”
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Located only 15 minutes outside of Belfast city centre, Glengormley is a thriving hub in its own right filled with a number of independent businesses, eateries and pubs serving the close-knit community.
As the last 19 months have been a difficult time for people all across Northern Ireland, these businesses have been the backbone of the local area, doing all they can to support residents from the town and surrounding areas during the uncertainty.
Belfast Live spoke with a number of businesses about what they think makes Glengormley a unique area and what it means to live and work in the heart of the community.
Tommy Kelly owns Puccini's on the Hightown Road and has been fueling locals for the day ahead for the past 17 years.
Tommy said: "It's always been a good wee business – we do breakfast, we do lunch and we also do outside catering for the likes of local parties, christenings, birthdays.
"The people in Glengormley are great and have supported me for the last 17 years, especially during the pandemic so I can't say a bad word about it. They are all decent people and I like to see them come in every morning."
On why people should visit Glengormley, Tommy said there is always "a lot going on" and there is something for everyone – whether you have lived there all your life or are just passing through.
"There's plenty of eateries if people want to stop in – too many in fact," he laughed.
"It's just a nice wee town and with the council starting to put in some flower pots and things to brighten it up a bit, it's got a lot going on."
There has always been a travel agents on the Ballyclare Road site for almost 30 years and the ladies in Hays Travel have been a big part in helping locals make precious holiday memories for years.
Bronagh said: "I'm not originally from this neck of the woods but we have so many lovely customers that come here, some that have been booking with us from years back and they always come in to book with the same person.
"It's more like a wee family and the customers here are so loyal and will always come back and use us.
"There is a great community base here in Glengormley and it's great to support local and we are like a close-knit group around here and everyone looks out for each other as well."
Jenna worked as a travel agent in Glengormley for over 18 years and has loved getting to know the community through her job.
She added: "You do get to know everyone coming in and it's nice that they always come back to us every time."
Matthew and Chloe are the directors of The Glam Studio, a hair and beauty space that supports freelancers in the industry and allows them to enhance their self-employed careers.
Discussing what it means to work in Glengormley, Chloe explained the community of independent businesses operating in the area make it something special.
"It's really good – the economy has started to get a lot better here and there are businesses popping up everywhere and it's great because it's bringing the money to Glengormley instead of bigger chain retailers," she said.
"And with the High Street Voucher Scheme, we're encouraging people to spend them here in the town, not just with us but with all the other hairdressers instead of going to the likes of big supermarkets."
During the pandemic, The Glam Studio went above and beyond to give back to the local community that they are so proud to be a part of with the likes of their baby bank and Christmas bank.
Matthew added: "All of us grew up locally so for us, it's really important for us to become the next generation of independent local businesses that are able to support the community in that way.
"I have noticed over the last while the demographic of people moving into the area from other places is much more diverse – mid-20s/early 30s with more happening."
Chloe continued: "This is something Glengormley hasn't really had and more people are coming in from different places so it definitely seems to be becoming a bit more desirable."
Opened in 1985, Jim's Barber Shop is the longest established barbers in the town and have been glad to save all their customers from their dodgy lockdown haircuts since reopening.
Conrad said: "Jim retired last year during Covid at 71, he's a great man and a great man to work for and was cutting hair right up until then.
"The girls have worked with Jim for over 20 years."
On what it means to her to be such as big part of Glengormley history, Trisha said: "They are all lovely people – it is a lovely wee town and we have really good loyal customers in here too. Of course, Covid has knocked the stuffing out of everyone but we're still here.
Conrad added: "It's nice to be out of the city – you are beside Belfast but you are outside it. It's a community on its own."
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