Carrick woman heads store in home town

Grace Lough.
Grace Lough.

Carrick woman Grace Lough says she is “excited” to be heading a 50-strong team at the new M&S Foodhall in her home town.

The 7,000 sq ft outlet at Belfast Road is on schedule to open its doors on July 31 at 11.00 am.

Grace is a past pupil of St. Nicholas’ Primary School and Belfast High School.

She has worked for the company for the past 13 years joining after graduating from Queen’s University Belfast with a degree in management.

She started her career at the flagship Sprucefield store followed by posts at Bow Street Mall, Abbeycentre and Forestside before returning to Lisburn.

She added: “My first job was in Carrick in Etam as a temporary member of staff at Christmas. That is where I started my retail career.

“I love fashion and fashion retailers. That is why I thought of working in retail. I have also worked at Top Shop and Primark.

While Grace has worked in a number of home and clothing roles within M&S, she says that she loves the company’s food product.

“When I see what we are doing with our food business, it is absolutely amazing.

“It is about providing value for customers and attracting customers in. That is why I am really excited about opening a food hall in Carrick.”

She went on to say that the new staff, half of which has been newly appointed from the Carrick area, Greenisland, Larne and Newtownabbey are “delighted to be able to work on their doorstep” and she said that she is looking forward to welcoming local people to the outlet.

The newcomers are currently undergoing training at other M&S branches to get them “up to speed”

“What is important is how we serve our customers,” she stated.

Currently, the store is being fitted out and signage has been put in place.

“We are definitely on the countdown”, added Grace.

It is one of two new branches which are opening in Northern Ireland.

She reported that there were more than 200 people queuing for the opening of the Craigavon branch last October.

She says that “hopefully there will be a real buzz” too about the Carrick store.

“We are really excited for the opening and that the customers will love it as much as we do. We can give them a really amazing experience.

“We take the time to talk to our customers to give them really good service.”