Coffee chain Ground Espresso opening first Belfast stand-alone outlet
Home-grown coffee chain Ground Espresso is launching its first Belfast stand-alone store, creating around 20 new jobs. It is setting up shop on the corner of Queen Street and Wellington Place in the heart of the city centre.
Ground Espresso employs more than 200 staff across 17 stand-alone stores and concessions across Ireland.
One of the firm's founders, Karen Gardiner, said the company was "looking forward to expanding the Ground team even more this year".
"This will be the first of many new outlets for this fast growing business," she added.
The stand-alone store will be designed in a style similar to the firm's new Magherafelt and Bangor outlets, the company said. Ground currently has two coffee shops in Belfast, including one in Next and another in Waterstones.
"Ground is making strides in supporting the development of Northern Ireland's coffee scene by continuously investing in research and training to support its progression," Ms Gardiner said.
But it is going to come up against some stiff competition in the city, with a raft of new spots opening up.
Costa Coffee looks set to open a new shop in the heart of Belfast as it competes with almost 40 other branches of coffee chains in the city.
It is understood the firm will soon take over the former Jean Scene store on Castle Place, across the road from Donegall Arcade.
The business is run as a franchise across Northern Ireland and the Republic by Cork-based MBCC Foods Ireland, which operates 20 outlets north of the border.
Northern Ireland has around 60 coffee shops from the big three chains alone.
The new Costa will be competing with a host of big names close by, including Starbucks just a couple of doors down.
The new Ground Espresso project is set for completion by early March.