Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council (ANBC) has welcomed news of the handover of Dobbies new store in Antrim and says it is working closely with the company on a number of initiatives, including plans for bespoke training and a job fair.
The new Dobbies flagship store, located at The Junction Leisure & Retail Park, was recently handed over by Lotus Property as the internal fit out work commences. The 110,000sqft store at The Junction in Antrim, representing £10million investment, will be the largest store in Dobbies portfolio and their second store in Northern Ireland.
The store which is due to open in the autumn will offer a full range of plants, homeware and outdoor living and will also include a 500-seater restaurant, creating up to 120 jobs, and will attract one million customers each year.
The Council emphasised that planning permission was granted for this significant investment in just under 25 weeks "demonstrating the efficient processing of major planning applications" by its planning team and the substantial rewards to the Borough.
The local authority is continuing to work closely with Dobbies on a number of strategic initiatives including support for recruitment and training for new staff. The Council’s Labour Market Partnership has been able to offer a number of funded services to promote the job opportunities and provide bespoke training, this will culminate in a dedicated jobs fair for Dobbies later this year.
In addition, the ANBC's culture and events team is already in discussions with Dobbies about opportunities for collaborative working at flagship events such as Garden Show Ireland.
Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Alderman Stephen Ross attended the handover event, he said:
“This multi-million investment will enhance the Borough’s reputation as an economic powerhouse and will join an impressive portfolio of major companies setting up business in our Borough.
“The additional employment and supply chain will feed into the local economy and complement the existing attractions in Antrim."
Graeme Jenkins, CEO of Dobbies, commented:
“We’re thrilled to be forward to moving forward with the fit out ahead of opening in late autumn. Our store at The Junction will not only be our biggest store, but will also be our best.
“We’re committed to being a good neighbour during the process both to existing tenants on site, as well as engaging the Antrim community with recruitment events, charity partnerships and school initiatives coming in the months ahead. We’re really looking forward to opening the doors and will share opening plans in due course.”