Posted on Thursday 21 November 2013 by Ulster Business

Red Grocery

Dympna and Robert Millen of Red Grocery with Keira Davidson and Roisin McAlister from Ulster Bank, which supported the new store..

A County Antrim independent retailer is set to create up to 40 jobs with an investment of almost a quarter of a million pounds through the government-backed Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS).

Red Grocery is opening a new 4,000 sq ft Centra store and filling station in Carrickfergus with the help of a loan of over £230,000 from the Ulster Bank using the scheme.

The Bank of England and HM Treasury launched the Funding for Lending Scheme in July last year. It is designed to incentivise banks and building societies to boost their lending by providing funding for an extended period, with both the price and quantity of funding linked to their lending performance. 

Ulster Bank, which is owned by Royal Bank of Scotland, is the only bank to have used the scheme to any great extent in Northern Ireland. 

The Ulster Bank-backed investment by Red Grocery also includes the complete refurbishment of its existing Centra store at Ariel Road in Antrim.

Red Grocery is owned by Robert and Dympna Millen. Commenting on the investment, Dympna Millen said: "We were looking for an opportunity for a second site to add to our already successful store in Antrim and felt that Prince Andrew Way represented a good retail opportunity for a convenience store.

"With help from Ulster Bank and Musgrave Retail Partners, we are thrilled to be able to create this impressive new facility for local people and provide employment in the area."

Twenty-two full and part time positions have already been filled in readiness for the opening and the owners anticipate that this will rise to 40 following the opening.

Ulster Bank's Head of Northern Ireland, Ellvena Graham, welcomed the investment: "The Funding for Lending Scheme has proven a useful way of supporting a wide range of companies across Northern Ireland to invest and generate employment. We have lent over £100m to over 800 Northern Ireland companies through the scheme, and are pleased to support companies like Red Grocery as they expand and grow."

Other local companies to be supported by Ulster Bank through the Funding for Lending Scheme to date include the Old Schoolhouse Inn in Comber, which secured funding of £140,000 to completely overhaul its long-standing premises to include a new lounge, refurbished 50-seat restaurant and nine hotel bedrooms.

Annaghmore Mushrooms, based in Craigavon, also secured finance from Ulster Bank through the scheme. The company, which grows, markets and distributes mushrooms across Northern Ireland and throughout the UK, used the finance to build impressive bespoke packaging and storage facilities to help further expand their operation.


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