A new all-in-one service station has opened outside Ballymena, creating 16 new jobs. The six figure investment was part supported by Danske Bank.
In January 2016, Donnellys of Rathkenny purchased a former car showroom that had been unused for five years. Planning permission was granted a year later, with fit out starting in January and lasting four months. The shop opened to the public in early May and is situated on one of the main routes to the Glens of Antrim.
Connor Donnelly, Director of Donnellys of Rathkenny, said: “We identified a gap in the market for an all-in-one service station and found ideal premises in a central location.
“We replaced the electrics in the existing building and demolished an old house and office space which allowed us to create a forecourt. We installed new fuel tanks, retiled the old car showroom and installed a hot food and deli counter along with a stainless steel kitchen.”
Although the new store has only been open a number of weeks, Mr Donnelly said the response from the local community has been very positive.
“The feedback so far has been extremely positive. It is a one stop shop that offers a wide range of services right on their doorstep. The old premises was a bit of an eyesore and I think people are glad something has finally been done to transform it. We’re fortunate to have a number of additional units on site that are not being used. Our aim is to rent these out to other businesses, bringing as many services to the local area as possible,” he said.
Philip Smyth, Business Manager of Danske Bank’s North Business Centre, commented: “The Donnellys approached us with an urgent need for financial support after their previous bank had not been able to meet the timescales set by the customer. We were able to provide funds within one day and they completed the purchase of the building within a month of our first meeting.
“The new store is a fantastic addition to the local area, bringing much needed services and job creation to the local community. The owners have done a fantastic job converting a neglected property into a store that will serve the public for many years to come.”