Ricky and Vicky Leathem have invested £1.5m across their four stores since starting the business in 2007. Having recently switched their banking to Danske Bank, the owners are now able to facilitate further growth in the retail market with the Bank providing working capital requirements and a £150,000 loan to refurbish the new Bradbury Place store.
Ricky Leathem, Centra franchise owner, said: “Belfast city centre has an opportunity to grow its FMCG market in line with a number of new office spaces coming to market. There are more people working and living in the centre and that is one of the main reasons we opened a new store at Bradbury Place.
“Our new store differs from our other three as it has a sit in area and a different retail offering. We created 17 new jobs when we opened a few weeks ago and that number will increase as the store becomes busier. I always have an eye on potential sites for new stores. If it makes sense as a business decision, we’ll consider it.”
He added: “The challenge is that the price of food is always rising and there is still so much uncertainty over Brexit. The FMCG market is reliant on strong economic growth – the more money consumers have to spend, the more retailers benefit.”
Michelle Wilson, Business Manager at Danske Bank, said: “Ricky and Vicky are ambitious owners with a wealth of experience in the retail market. By closely following consumer trends, they have adapted their offering to meet the demands of an ever-changing sector.
“At Danske Bank, we are proud to support locally owned family businesses and provide them with the right resources to grow.”