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Co Antrim coffee shop owners invest £200,000 to acquire their building

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From left, Colin Neill, Lesley McCaughan and Jackie Robinson

A coffee shop business in Co Antrim has invested £200,000 to acquire one of its premises outright.

Follow Coffee, owned by Lesley and Mark McCaughan, has branches in Ballymena and Portrush employing 22 staff in total.

It’s now marking a year since the Portrush branch opened, with the couple also investing £200,000 to buy their site in Ballymena outright after renting it since 2020.

Mrs McCaughan said: “We are absolutely delighted to be celebrating multiple milestones, our first birthday of Follow Coast and four years at Follow Ballymena.

“We made bold decision to invest in the building in Ballymena within five years of opening, so to do this ahead of schedule was a wonderful feeling and one which we are immensely proud of.

“Our growth has been steady-year-one year and really exceeded our goals well beyond our target. In fact, the last 12 months have been our strongest to date.

“We have really enjoyed getting to know our customers and have been rewarded with the most amazing staff.”

Follow Coffee Company has also promoted Jackie Robinson, the former head chef in Follow Coast Portrush, to the position of executive chef across the brand. A new menu is to be launched in the Ballymena branch next month.

Ms McCaughan was also named coffee shop manager of the year at the Institute of Hospitality Northern Ireland Awards last year.

Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster, said: “Independent businesses like Follow Coast are the backbone of our local communities.

“To see a business like this thrive is testament to the hard work and excellence of Lesley and her team. I wish them every success in the future.”

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