SPAR Route Service Station in Ballymoney has reopened to the local community as a brand new, state of the art fresh food hall, creating an additional six jobs for the local area.

The old site was completely demolished before an 11 week rebuild of the new site, which has doubled in size, now standing at almost 6,000 sq. ft. with a 58-space car park, and a four-pump Maxol forecourt.

As a result of the bigger store, shoppers can now expect an expansive range of thousands of new and local products with 23 bays of fresh groceries, including SPAR Enjoy Local own-brand all sourced in Northern Ireland, plus SPAR’s range of freshly prepared, handmade meals from The Kitchen.

The fresh selection for tonight’s tea, is complemented by the food for now offering which includes a new SPAR Bakery, which bakes fresh loaves and pastries in-store daily, two Barista Bar Coffee machines and a new deli from Delish, with a range of hot and cold meals, sandwiches, wraps and salads. Shoppers can also enjoy a Southern Fried Chicken bar and the fabulous new Ice Cream & Shakes parlour for those extra treats. The new 15-person seating area in-store offers a relaxing space to enjoy those treats on site.

Store Manager, Catherine Gilchrist says the store brings a huge range of choice and value for local shoppers; “When shoppers arrive at SPAR Route Service Station, they will be completely blown away by our offering. We have an extended range of fresh products which are all locally known brands and suppliers, available to be picked up at value prices to cook tonight’s tea or tomorrow’s packed lunches, all on their doorstep. We are delighted to be reopened, and have our team back together at the new store, alongside our new team members.

“During the rebuild, our staff were seconded to different SPAR and EUROSPAR stores in the area which gave them some more fantastic experience, but we’re so excited to be back together and see our local shoppers again.”

Seen as a hub for the local community, SPAR Route Service Station has been continuing to engage with groups, businesses, charities and service providers in the area, especially as they reopen to the public and in the run up to Christmas.

Catherine continued; “Our community champion, Alison Henry has been busy connecting with our neighbours and making sure we are supporting the causes that matter to our community. We have donated plants and flowers to St. James’ Lodge, our local nursing home, which have brightened up both residents’ rooms and their communal garden thanks to the care and advice given by green-fingered Alison!

“We have donated a hamper of long-life goods to Causeway and Mid Ulster’s Women’s Aid for families in crisis, and we have a designated point in-store where shoppers can also donate to this very important cause, especially at this time of year, which is difficult for so many. We have also donated toys and clothes to the local NI Hospice shop, where staff also spent an afternoon volunteering, helping the team to get ready for Christmas.

“It is important to keep our local area as free of litter as possible, so we recently organised a team litter pick at the Riverside Park duck pond to tidy it up for local walkers and of course, the wildlife there. Our support of Ballymoney Rugby Club continues with our sponsorship of the women’s team shorts and finally, Sandcastles Nursery School have brightened up the shop with their colouring-in and came along to our official opening to see their pictures proudly displayed! It was a fantastic day where we welcomed our shoppers back to the store and had those local organisations that we support come and see their new local store, too.”

Mark McCammond, Retail Director at Henderson Group added; “SPAR Route Service Station has been rebuilt with the community’s need for a store with everything under one roof, at value prices, right on their doorstep. We are very proud of this build, and the connections the team has nurtured throughout the neighbourhood and we are delighted to officially reopen for our local shoppers.”

SPAR Route Service Station is open Monday to Sunday, 6am – midnight.