Linda Patterson, the local teacher known and loved across Millisle, has had the honour of cutting the ribbon to officially declare the opening of the much-anticipated new community supermarket on Main Street today (Friday 04 September).

The £3million new build EUROSPAR takes the place of the former SPAR and has been under construction for the past eight months, bringing a wealth of new services and amenities to the local area, as well as 25 new job opportunities.

Linda, who officially retired after teaching for almost 40 years at Millisle Primary School, is a huge asset to the local community, and store owners Henderson Retail, which own and operate almost 100 SPAR and EUROSPAR stores across Northern Ireland, wanted to ensure this local store was part of the community.

Pupils Connor McCormick (P2) and Junior Orr (P4) presented Mrs Patterson with gifts as she opened the store, to mark her retirement and make up for her final year being cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mark McCammond, Retail Director at Henderson Group said; “EUROSPAR is a community supermarket which not only provides essential groceries for the local area but becomes a hub where shoppers can rely on top quality products, value and a safe way of shopping.

“We are excited to reveal EUROSPAR Millisle to our neighbours and thank Linda for taking the time to not only officially open the supermarket but for her years of community and teaching work in the local area.”

Joanne Knox, Store Manager at EUROSPAR Millisle said the new build has brought new employment opportunities at a time when they were much needed; “we have merged the previous SPAR Millisle team and added 25 new team roles for the new supermarket. This is a huge asset to the local community, providing secure jobs at what has been a worrying time.

“Our site also includes a four-pump MAXOL fuel station – the first petrol station in Millisle for over 15 years, alongside a 35-space car park, free ATM, three self-scan checkouts to compliment the conventional checkouts and over 26 bays of fresh produce, all sourced from local farmers and growers.

“We also carry delicious own-brand products from The Kitchen, The Chef and Greengrocer’s, as well as the artisanal range of products from NI’s smaller, hidden gem producers.”

Shoppers can also enjoy a new hot food-to-go deli serving all-day breakfast and lunch, a fresh butchery counter from Donaghadee’s Simon Wright & Son and the new offering from Henderson’s own-brand coffee, Barista Bar.

Joanne continued; “The new Barista Bar machine includes hot chocolate and flat white options, giving even more choice for our shoppers’ morning pick me up that can be enjoyed with a Barista Bar treat which are also available in-store.”

EUROSPAR Millisle is open from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Henderson Retail has invested over £1m in health and safety precautions in store, which have been integrated into EUROSPAR Millisle. The supermarket will have a socially distanced queueing system, limited numbers of shoppers in store, a one-way system, heightened cleaning protocols and Perspex screens at checkouts. Shoppers are also encouraged to follow local legislation and wear a face covering in store.