Robin Mercer, third generation owner of garden lifestyle business Hillmount, has been named in the King’s New Year Honours List which recognises the outstanding achievements and service of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom.
Being awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to business and to the economy in Northern Ireland, the award highlights Robin’s contribution of a very “hands-on” service to the community in his local area.
Managing the multi-award-winning 85 year old family business established by his grandfather in 1940, Robin has witnessed memorable changes in how business operates, yet through the decades he has always had a deep connection to the local community and approached doing business with the objective of making a positive difference in the lives of gardening enthusiasts and his staff.
Throughout the pandemic, Robin’s innovative approach to managing Hillmount was evident as he was committed to supporting the NHS, offering garden furniture to local emergency services to enable them to enjoy downtime at a safe distance, and developing home delivery and click and collect services for customers who found gardening vital for their mental health during lockdown.
Respected by elected representatives and government officials, Robin demonstrated his business acumen and influence as he recently became a campaigner, lobbying politicians and educating media addressing the prohibitive nature and challenges of the implications of Brexit for the horticulture industry as a whole.
Hillmount’s presence in Bangor, Belfast, Newtownards and Cheshire is a reflection of Robin’s values, ambition and leadership qualities which have played a crucial role in the significant success of Hillmount and its expansion.
Expressing his pride at being included in the New Year Honours List, marking his unwavering commitment to providing employment and serving the local communities in Bangor, Belfast, Newtownards, and Cheshire, Robin said: “I was utterly speechless and genuinely surprised when I received notification that I would be named in the King’s New Year Honours List. I’m humbled yet filled with immense pride to be recognised for the impact I have made on the local community and economy while doing something that I love. Gardening is in my blood and it’s a privilege to accept this Honour. Receiving this very special news is a wonderful way to start the new year.”
A Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society, Robin grew up at Hillmount in Gilnahirk and attended CAFRE at Greenmount. He is married to Edith and they have three sons and seven grandchildren. Their youngest son Alan works alongside his parents in the business. Hillmount garden lifestyle stores are located in Bangor, Belfast, Newtownards and Cheshire. Hillmount employs 100 staff and stocks seasonal plants, garden furniture, barbecues, gifts, clothing and accessories.