Henderson Group has opened its first new company-owned Spar store since the onset of the coronavirus crisis in March.
The 3,013 sq ft Carnmoney Hill store in the outskirts of Belfast opened this month, creating 21 jobs.
The £500,000 development was officially opened by local resident and recently retired former Spar store manager, Bertie Tyrrell, who worked for Henderson Retail for more than 20 years in a variety of store and support team roles.
Since March 2020, Henderson Group has invested more than £1m in protective measures and communications for retailers and shoppers.
Retail director Mark McCammond said they had overcome huge challenges to set the standard of safety across the entire network, and the project at Spar Carnmoney Hill had provided an opportunity to incorporate all the new safety measures as part of the store design.
“We started this build back in 2019 and had originally hoped to open in May, however, due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, we had to stop the construction and of course, adjust our plans around the future of retail here in Northern Ireland,” he added.
“Overnight, we had to put safety measures in place as an essential business providing a service for our local communities. Including our independent retail stores, there are over 460 Spar, Eurospar and Vivo branded stores in Northern Ireland.
“We moved fast, to secure all the vital materials we needed to provide the safest possible environment for shoppers and staff, even as lockdown eases.”