~ Local retail brand SuperValu to deliver over 1,800 foodhall products in first-of-its-kind partnership ~

Dobbies, the UK’s leading garden centre retailer has today (Thursday 5 October) officially opened its largest ever store at The Junction Retail and Leisure Park.

The 110,000sq ft flagship store is Dobbies’ second venture in Northern Ireland and has created 120 new jobs, making it one of the largest employers within the Antrim and Newtownabbey borough.

As further commitment to driving and investing in local growth, a unique partnership has been forged with Musgrave, Northern Ireland’s leading retail and wholesale business. Dobbie’s 3,539 sq. ft. foodhall stocks SuperValu own brand, including Signature Tastes, Donnybrook Fair, Happy Pear and Frank & Honest Gourmet Coffee.

Television presenter Pamela Ballantine officially opened the doors this morning joined by Deputy Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council Councillor Rosie Kinnear; Dobbies CEO, David Robinson; Dobbies Antrim General Manager Ken Ferguson and Operations Manager Jenny Campbell; and The Junction landlord, Lotus Property’s MD Alastair Coulson.

Dobbies also welcomed school children and their families through the doors following the announcement of a partnership between Dobbies and local SEN school, Riverside.

This is the largest store in Dobbies’ UK portfolio with outdoor and indoor plant areas; gardening products; seasonal items; pet, gift and toy departments as well as cookshop and home décor; a foodhall, a Little Seedlings children’s soft play area and new restaurant and coffee shop, serving breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.

Opening ahead of the Christmas season, the new store features Dobbies’ full festive product range with an extensive programme of seasonal events planned from November onwards including Santa’s Grotto, a Quiet Grotto experience for those with additional needs, Santa Paws, Santa’s Breakfast and more.

Dobbies CEO, David Robinson said: “I’d like to share a huge thank you to everyone who has been involved in this project. It’s been amazing to see so many colleagues from across the business supporting the local team, and we’re proud to have created so many jobs in the local area.

“I’d also like to thank everyone from the local community who has been so helpful and made us feel so welcome. We hope visitors to The Junction enjoy this fantastic Dobbies’ experience and we look forward to building on the strong relationships with our Junction neighbours and the wider Antrim community.”

Lotus Property Managing Director, Alastair Coulson: said: “Dobbies opening its doors onsite today is a real gamechanger for The Junction. We are very pleased to have a nationwide household name open its flagship store with us. I’m delighted to say occupancy levels are now at 92% – a testament to the investment and commitment the team here at The Junction have made to drive this destination forward.”

Speaking on the foodhall partnership, Julie Cherry, Trading Director at Musgrave said: “An in-store foodhall partnership is a first-of-its-kind concept for Musgrave and one we’re very excited about. Building long-term, stable relationships is one of our values, so we’re delighted to partner with Dobbies to reach more shoppers across NI with our quality convenience food offer.”

Celebrations for the opening will continue on Saturday 7 October, with the Cool FM Bus on site at The Junction with presenters Melissa Riddell and Curtis McCosh.