Coffee company Ground Espresso expands deal with Next chain
Independent coffee firm Ground Espresso will soon be brewing at three more Next stores, creating 100 jobs in the next year.
Marking its lucky 13th birthday, the Northern Ireland firm, fronted by husband-and-wife duo Karen and Darren Gardiner, said the shops would be opening here and in the Irish Republic.
Along with a new outlet in Next in Blanchardstown – the first in the Republic – there will be others in Newry and Newtownabbey, with another six yet to be finalised across Ireland.
The growth of the 11-shop business, which started in Coleraine, follows the recent £100,000 facelift to its two existing concession outlets at Waterstones and Next in Belfast city centre.
Mrs Gardiner said new branches would solidify the firm's relationship with the fashion retailer and and would bring the workforce to more than 220 people.
"This is a significant investment for a local company and we look forward to further investment and job creation in the coming months," she added.
"We have already confirmed two new sites in Newry and Newtownabbey and are finalising a further six locations across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, creating in excess of 100 new jobs in the next 12 months.
"This investment in our Belfast stores marks the next chapter in the Ground story.
"Our concessions in Belfast are bigger and better, meeting the needs of families as well as the growing number of people who use our coffee shops as a place to conduct meetings, work and gather socially."
The Gardiners said they made a commitment when they opened their first store to provide the Northern Ireland public with "fresh homemade produce as well as high-quality coffee".
"This has paid off, not only with loyal customers but also with Next and Waterstones, who selected a small local firm rather than one of the multinational chains to reside in their flagship stores in Northern Ireland," they added.