Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Belfast coffee shop owner ground down by G8 security disruption

A coffee shop owner has predicted "another disastrous weekend" for Belfast traders after he was told that he will not be able to receive deliveries after 8am on Saturday and Monday because of planned events to mark the G8 summit in Co Fermanagh.

Darren Gardiner operates three Ground Espresso branches in Belfast, two of which, in Waterstones in Fountain Street and at Next in Royal Avenue, will effectively be prevented from selling fresh food on two of the busiest trading days of the week.

A ring of tight security is to be thrown around the city centre amid feared protests and marches ahead of the expected visit of US president Barrack Obama.

There are other Ground Espresso branches including Bushmills, Coleraine and Ballymena and a new shop set to open in Cookstown within weeks.

"We are all in the same boat in the city centre, we've been told that no deliveries will get in after 8am," said Mr Gardiner.

"But unlike some other food providers who use frozen stock which they can defrost, we make everything fresh in store. If we can't get deliveries, we can't feed people,

"There are only 52 weekends in a year and we have already suffered as a result of the flags protests and bad weather and the economic downturn," he said.

"While it is fantastic to get Barrack Obama visiting Belfast and I can see the bigger picture, for some retailers it is going to be another disastrous weekend.

"I am not too downhearted as we have plenty of other branches and the company is doing really well, but I am now actively sourcing locations outside of Belfast because it's much less hassle."