Belfast Telegraph

Family business shut by recession reopens its doors

A Co Antrim town has been buoyed by the news that a family-run business which closed recently after 82 years is to reopen with the creation of 30-plus new jobs.

Back in March Ballymena was struck by the sudden closure of Montgomery's Restaurant, one of the town's longest established and most popular businesses.

The Montgomery family is held in high regard in the area and have contributed exceptional amounts to the community as well as to charity.

There was a massive reaction to news of the closure — a result of the economic downturn — with locals flooding the business's Facebook page with personal messages expressing their shock and disappointment. However, the Montgomery family says the restaurant will now re-open later this month, creating 32 jobs.

A spokesperson for Montgomery's said: “Montgomery’s would like to thank the local MP (Ian Paisley jnr), council officials, the Ballymena public and the wider community for their unrelenting support through what has been a very difficult time for the family.

“The hundreds of letters, cards, emails, Facebook messages and telephone calls have been overwhelming — even the trays of chocolate brownies have helped to ease the pain. Montgomery’s looks forward to seeing many of the old faces back in the restaurant, and some of the very old faces.”

It is understood that the family has been able to reopen the business after resolving prior financial complications.

North Antrim MP Mr Paisley said: “The announcement by the Montgomery family back in March that the store would close was simply terrible news for the whole town. Montgomery’s is one of our oldest, most loved, trusted and successful businesses and to see it go was a disastrous situation.

“Not only was its heritage and tradition gone, but also the employer of around 30 people in the Ballymena area.”

The DUP man said he could not stress enough how “elated” he was at the reopening of the store.

“This is a huge cause for celebration around the town and also a boost for our local economy. To have such a significant and popular business back is truly inspiring for the rest of us and I hope this move by the family encourages others to follow suit and invest in Ballymena,” he said.

“Businesses like Montgomery’s form the backbone of Ballymena and are ingrained into our town’s image and culture.

“I wish the family all the best in their reopening and for the next 82 years of providing the people of Ballymena with one of our best and most loved restaurants.”

Background

A total of 40 jobs were lost when Montgomery’s closed in March. The closures involved the family firm’s Ballymoney Street store — which included a restaurant and coffee shop — and a general store in the nearby village of Cullybackey. Montgomerys on Ballymoney street was founded in 1930 by Robert Montgomery and Robbie Murdock.

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