Actor Ian McElhinney and his pet dog Juno to open Jollyes’ new Newtownabbey store this Saturday

Pet retailer of the year Jollyes has revealed that its brand-new store at Newtownabbey, would be the first retail store in Northern Ireland’s history to be officially opened by a dog.

By Claire Cartmill
Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 7th December 2021, 1:06 pm

The celebrations will take place at 10am on Saturday, December 11 when 11-year-old Juno, joined by his dad Noel Conlon from Jollyes’ supplier Frozzys and his regular pet-sitter - none other than Game of Thrones and Derry Girls actor Ian McElhinney.

Jollyes’ new Newtownabbey store is only the third in Northern Ireland to feature a Pamper & Groom Spa, so after opening the store by biting through a string of sausages, Juno will head inside for a much deserved ‘Groom of Thrones’.

Customers can join in the fun on opening day with by getting their picture taken with their own pets wearing Christmas jumpers at a mirror photo booth (from 10am to 1pm) and 100 customers will get a Jollyes goody bag.

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Pup Juno will officially be opening the new Newtownabbey Jollyes store on Saturday, alongside Ian McElhinney

In a much larger location, the new store at 2 Longwell Road, Newtownabbey is replacing Jollyes at Glengormley and will create five new jobs.

The store opens as Jollyes revealed plans to invest £325,000 in Northern Ireland to open new stores and support key suppliers across the island of Ireland.

The retailer, which already has 12 stores in Northern Ireland, making it the country’s leading pet retailer, is proud to have a strong Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland supply base for all its 70 stores across the UK and is also planning to step up investment with partners to help support its current growth.

Key suppliers Mackle Petfoods from County Armagh and Belfast-based Frozzys will also have special displays at the opening showing customers how they partner with Jollyes to provide their high quality ranges to the store.

Demand at Jollyes has never been higher. According to the Pet Food Manufacturers Association, 3.2 million households have acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, with cat and dog ownership alone reaching 12 million of each. Pet ownership has been linked to well-being and improved mental health.

According to a PFMA report, almost a third of households in Northern Ireland own a dog - higher than anywhere else in the UK. Twelve per cent of Northern Ireland households also own a cat.

Jollyes prides itself on recruiting and training staff to offer customers expert advice on caring for their pets, from diet and health to training and toys.

Laura Hadden, regional manager for Jollyes in Northern Ireland and Scotland, said: “We’re going to be working around the clock between now and Saturday to get the store up and running and we look forward to welcoming customers new and old alike in our new Newtownabbey location.”

Next year Jollyes will also open a brand-new store in Cookstown as it steps up its presence in Northern Ireland.

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