The “enthusiasm and determination of traders to turn around Larne town centre” has been praised by a Great British High Street judge.
Speaking after Larne was highly commended as a “Rising Star” in the national competition, judge Glyn Roberts said that determination “scored very significantly with the judges” and “should not be under-estimated”.
Mr Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, has served as head of parliamentary affairs with the Federation of Small Businesses in Northern Ireland.
He stated: “What an achievement it was for Larne to be shortlisted in a UK national competition. Well done to all the traders and to the council for all the work that has been done as well.
“I think that Larne is definitely a town that has turned the corner for the better. It is very much a case of onwards and upwards.
“Larne has some fantastic independent retailers. I think it is great to see them all working hard to create a town centre that people to want to visit time and time again.”
The retail expert noted the team effort required by retailers combined with hospitality and service providers to make Larne town centre a “fun place”.
He added: “It is no mean feat to be listed as a Rising Star in this national competition and hopefully this goes to further encourage the excellent work the traders are doing.”
Marc Dobbin, vice chairman of Larne Traders’ Forum, added: “I would like to thank all the traders, The Larne Renovation Generation, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council and Hazel Bell who put Larne forward for the Great British High Street Awards, for all their support.
“Larne was looking absolutely fabulous when the judges came to visit.
“Larne has got bad publicity recently but this award is something that hopefully can help the town by raising the profile and bringing more shoppers to the town.”