Belfast Telegraph

Grounds for optimism as Ground takes on 40 staff in new Next outlets

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland coffee chain Ground Espresso Bars is creating 40 jobs as it prepares to open three new stores in Next shops.

The firm, which was founded by Darren and Karen Gardiner, is investing more than £500,000 in the three new stores at Next in Lisnagelvin Retail Park, Londonderry, as well as Enniskillen and Bloomfield, Bangor.

The new Lisnagelvin coffee shop will be the first to begin trading when it opens on May 25.

Karen Gardiner said: "Having opened our first store almost 14 years ago, we are delighted to be in a position to continue growing our network and Ground offering throughout Northern Ireland.

"We are also delighted to be expanding our partnership with Next plc, and these new concessions will see Ground feature in six of Next's department stores before the end of 2015, with exciting plans in the pipeline to partner with Next on a considerable number of new sites as well."

Stephen Williams, estate surveyor at Next plc, added: "We are delighted to again be partnering with Ground Espresso Bars on these projects.

"Ground and Next work very well together and we look forward to developing this relationship in the future".

Ground Espresso was established in 2001 in Coleraine and now employs 160 staff in 13 standalone stores and concessions across Ireland.

There are standalone coffee shops in Coleraine, Portrush, Bushmills, Ballymoney, Ballymena and Cookstown. There are also concessions in Waterstones on Fountain Street, Belfast, in Next in Donegall Place in the city, in Next at Sprucefield, in Next at Westend Retail Park in Dublin, in Tesco's Banbridge store and in the Translink depot in Coleraine.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last year, Darren said the company had managed to grow during the downturn.

Belfast Telegraph