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Northern Ireland garden centre creating 100 jobs

By John Mulgrew

A Co Antrim garden centre says it will create up to 100 new jobs as part of a £5m investment.

Colemans Garden Centre in Templepatrick has unveiled plans for a £5m investment to renovate and extend its facilities over the coming months, with an official opening in autumn.

Phase one renovations of the garden centre, set up in 1965, will feature an 18,000 sq ft building consisting of a garden centre and restaurant.

The first stage of the project will officially open later in the year, following the demolition of the current shop.

And the new restaurant and shop will be a licensed 200-seat establishment, which will be built by May Estates construction company.

It's being designed and developed alongside retail consultants Appetite Me.

Richard Fry, managing director of Colemans, said: "Phase one of our development is already well under way and we are excited to see our plans take shape.

"By adding an extensive variety of exclusive retailers and brands to the garden products and services we already have on offer, we hope to attract a wider audience from the local area and beyond, by way of our new 200-seat restaurant, to provide them with a unique eating experience of the highest standard right on their doorstep.

"In addition this new development will create around 100 new jobs in the area when we combine full and part-time staff."

The initial stages of the site's renovation project will then be followed by phase two of the development plans. That includes a further 32,000 sq ft of retail space, being added to the garden centre.

And Gary Hanna, director of May Estates - the Antrim construction company which is leading the building of the development project - said it "is a privilege to be able to work on the renovations of the prestigious Colemans Garden Centre, given that it has been such a reputable name in the Templepatrick, Antrim and Ballyclare area for well over 50 years now".

Earlier this year, family-owned garden centre Hillmount has announced it will open a third branch this autumn as part of a £1m expansion plan.

It's expected the chain's third store will create 25 jobs when it opens in the grounds of a former church in Newtownards, Co Down.

The 10,000 sq ft retail store will showcase 30,000 gardening product lines, including a Weber barbecue section and garden furniture.

It will also include a 55-seater restaurant.

Hillmount was founded 77 years ago by Hill Mercer and his wife Lily as a market gardening business growing vegetables to sell at markets in Belfast.

Belfast Telegraph

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