Nearly 10,000 shoppers and customers have cast their votes and chosen their High Street Heroes – with two local businesses in the running for the awards.
High Street Heroes Northern Ireland is a joint campaign from RetailNI and Belfast Live, supported by Camelot and Voice for Locals.
Votes were cast across 11 different categories with shoppers and customers voting for their favourite convenience store, deli, butcher, off-licence or coffee shop, along with the coveted High Street of the Year.
Locally, Thamra McAleese from McGroggan’s Ice Cream, Ballymena, has been named as a finalist in the Independent Retail Employee of the Year category.
Aroma Coffee House, Larne, has been named as a finalist in the best coffee shop category with Spar Glenarm being shortlisted in the best forecourt/petrol station category.
Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Alderman Noel Williams, said:
“This campaign is the perfect opportunity for us to celebrate the brilliant work of independent retailers and the pride they bring to local communities.
“It places a focus on our independent retailers, who have had to be more resilient than ever over the past two years. I am extremely proud of all independent retailers across Mid and East Antrim and the invaluable contribution they make to our community, despite the challenges they face.”
The winners in each category of Retail NI’s High Street Heroes Awards will be announced at an exclusive evening reception in Hinch Distillery on Wednesday 17 August.