Posted on Thursday 24 October 2013 by Ulster Business


Robin and Alan Mercer were joined by Mayor of Bangor Andrew Muir at the opening.

Family owned garden centre company Hillmount has invested £1m to open a new site in Bangor which has created 20 new jobs in the area.

Hillmount, which is owned by the Mercer family and has its original garden centre in Castlereagh, said that 10 of the new staff employed to manage the Bangor business had been hired from the recently closed Hanna and Browne store in the town.

Alan Mercer, Managing Director of Hillmount, said: "We had planned to expand in roughly two years beyond our original site in the Castlereagh Hills but our architect approached us with details of this place a few months ago and we just knew it was the right location for us. My parents met in Milanos in Bangor some 40 years ago this year, as it was halfway between Robin's in Castlereagh and Edith's in Greyabbey, and we have great memories of day trips to Bangor during the summer holidays as kids. And it's always 2° warmer than our garden centre's location in Castlereagh so what's not to love?"

Mr Mercer said it had run a social media campaign involving the local community to ensure it stocked the store with products that were in demand.

"We've got more than £300,000 stock including plants, gardening equipment and supplies, barbecues, homeware, soft furnishings, exquisite gifts and that all important 'Christmas shop' bursting with any decoration you can think of to dress your home for Santa's arrival," he said.

"Our builders, suppliers, decorators and staff have really pulled out all the stops to ensure that the building would be ready to open its doors today. Opening in Bangor is a real natural progression for the business which was started by my great-grandfather in 1940."

The 31,000 sq ft of retail space in Bangor has parking for 49 cars and boasts an 80 seater restaurant 'The Gardeners Rest'.

Mayor of Bangor Cllr Andrew Muir welcomed Hillmount to the town, saying: "It's lovely to see an independent family owned garden centre returning to the area and it's really what the Bangor people want and need. The Mercer family already has a fantastic reputation and I look forward to their business growing in the area. I would like to commend them for creating 20 new jobs and wish them every success with this expansion."



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