McIntyre’s SPAR Martinstown in Ballymena are celebrating 30 years of serving the local community.

The store opened with just 9 employees on 1st January 1993 and now employs 20 people from the local and surrounding areas.

Over the years the store has been at the heart of its community, supporting a number of charities and community groups including local primary schools and playgroups, GAA clubs, the Northern Ireland Mountain Rescue Team and many other fundraising organisations.

The store, which is owned by Tommy McIntyre, who opened the doors of the store 30 years ago, has provided a much-needed community store in the area ever since. The store continues to provide for the local community, investing £189,000 in the refurbishment of the store in 2021, to provide top quality products and services.

In addition to the store being modernised, the Off Sales has also been integrated into the store, as well as a new Scoop ice cream counter and an extended fresh range. The accessibility has also been improved with a new double door, car parking and customer toilet.

The store has always been centre of the community with the staff taking time to get to know shoppers and welcoming them with a chat and a friendly face.

To celebrate the store’s 30th anniversary, and thank their customers for their continued support, the store will hold a shopper appreciation week and exciting prize draws throughout the year.

Tommy commented, “It’s wonderful to be celebrating 30 years of my store as part of this brilliant community and even better to be celebrating with my family, who have also been central to the business over the years.

“The store enabled us to provide valuable work experience for my three daughters and my son Tomás, who joined the team a few years ago and is now a valuable asset to the business. My wife Patricia, who has been my rock, although not involved directly in the business, continues to support me through thick and thin.  

“The local community has always been important to me and my team and it’s great to get to know our shoppers and see friendly faces in store every day.

“I want to thank our amazing team, many of whom have been with me for a number of years including Rose Reid, Briedge McLarnon, Johnny Duncan, Geraldine Scullion and past employee Maisie Magee, and especially Shay O’Hagan who has been with me since opening day in 1993.”