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Jordan Robinson from Laced with love in the Carrickfergus Pop-up Shop with Mayor Cllr William McCaughey
Jordan Robinson from Laced with love in the Carrickfergus Pop-up Shop with Mayor Cllr William McCaughey

Press release -

Pop-up shop scheme bursting new life on to Mid and East Antrim’s high streets

Businesses across Mid and East Antrim are bursting onto the town centre scene with help from a new pop-up shop programme.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, with support from the Department for Communities, has reinvented three empty units to not only revitalise the high street’s appearance, but allow local traders and groups to showcase their products and skills.

The pop-up shop project has been funded by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and the Department for Communities under the COVID-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme.

The shops have been designed with a range of multi-functional display fittings and fixtures, shelves and tables.

The yearlong project started in September and since then, 10 Community Groups and one entrepreneur have already successfully taken up residency in the shops in Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Larne.

For the next few months, the units will house businesses signed up to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s Start-up in Retail Programme. This project is enabling start-up businesses to test trade on the high street with minimal risks and costs.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey says this is a welcome boost for the area’s town centres: “We’ve seen the success revamping these units has had already, with many groups using them as a new way to connect with their local communities. With a key focus on recovery post pandemic, the retail focused programme will now enable start-up businesses to test trade with minimal risks and costs.

“Pop-up shops are an exciting global trend in retail and food business. They are a great outlet for innovation and creativity, and can be a good first step for an entrepreneur to test the waters.

“The Start-up in Retail Programme also includes workshops and 1-2-1 mentoring. Through online workshops, these businesses can learn all about developing their brand, marketing their business, how to price their products, selling in-store and on-line and visual merchandising.

“To help our town centres recover post pandemic, we want to support start-up business owners who want to experience trading on the high street, and this partnership with Department for Communities is a perfect way to do this.”

The units can be found at 33-35 High Street Carrickfergus, 8 Upper Main Street in Larne and Ballymena's Tower Centre.

Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey added: “The pop up shops project in the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council area has demonstrated how our space on the high street can be versatile to meet a range of needs. The pop up shops, not only create interest but also allow new businesses a cost effective way to test their market. It is an excellent example of how the COVID-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme is helping to create opportunities for recovery across our town centres.”

There are plans for another retail programme to take place in March next year and bookings have already been received for community group residencies up to Easter 2022.

Any group interested in occupying a pop-up shop should contact




Notes to editors:

Press contacts

Chris Kilpatrick

Chris Kilpatrick

Press contact Head of Communications 07721 302 568
Annamay McNally

Annamay McNally

Press contact Press Officer 07721 305 586
Claire Tennyson

Claire Tennyson

Press contact Media Relations Officer
Deborah Cummings

Deborah Cummings

Press contact Press Officer 07920 544 094
Megan Mackay

Megan Mackay

Press contact Press Officer 07827 802 643

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Mid and East Antrim Borough Council's newsroom

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is a multi-award winning local authority which leads the way in the transformation of ever-more efficient and improved public services for its 139,000 citizens.

The traditional engine room of the Northern Ireland economy, the borough has a proud manufacturing heritage, diverse and dynamic business community, and a rapidly expanding tourism and hospitality sector.

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council
The Braid, 1-29 Bridge Street
BT43 5EJ Ballymena