The Gazette goes inside Chipping Sodbury's first supermarket and Waitrose's greenest ever store
THE manager of Chipping Sodbury’s first ever supermarket has spoken of his strong belief that Waitrose will help attract more people to the town.
Rich Clare, who left the Army to join the John Lewis partnership, is overseeing the final preparations to the 21,000 square feet store which opens in two weeks.
Mr Clare, who has worked for Waitrose for two-and-a-half years, has ambitious targets for the brand new shop, which will be the greenest store within the company.
On a tour of the Barnhill Quarry site, he told the Gazette: "I am confident we will attract 14,000 customers every week.
"I would expect that to generate a lot of trade for the town. The new footbridge linking the store to the High Street is fantastic and we will help stimulate extra trade and independents, it is a virtuous circle."
Mr Clare was previously manager of a Waitrose store in Malborough, Wiltshire.
"That is a destination branch like Chipping Sodbury," he said. "People come to do a quality food shop and visit the town’s shops, the two go hand in hand. You could visibly see the effect on the High Street."
After years of developers Chelverton Deeley Freed working to secure planning permission, work finally started on the complicated site in January with construction firm Midas facing the challenge of in-filling part of the disused quarry.
Site manager Paul Roberts said: "That was the most difficult part. There was a ground stabilisation scheme and then we found the new service road (off the new roundabout at St John’s Way) needed to come back beyond the extremity wall of the store so that set us back, although it has not led to a delay overall.
"We had to fill it a further six or seven metres in but it was critical, without the road we wouldn’t have the store."
A huge stone bluff to the rear of the site was blown up and debris was used under the car park, store and service yard to save bringing in large quantities of materials. Kerbs in the 210-space car park, which will have two and four-hour waiting limit areas, have been made from recycled plastic bags, all lights are LED and a biomass boiler has been installed.
"The carbon footprint on this store will be 60 per cent less than our others and will be 30 per cent more energy efficient than other new branches," said Mr Clare.
"We will be introducing lots of wildlife initiatives along the River Frome such as otter holes and bee hives and we will have an energy champion within the store so we really are trying to make it a green branch.
"And I am very keen to link in with the local community."
The store itself will stock over 21,000 lines and will boast a home and baby section, health and beauty department, click and collect John Lewis service, concierge-style welcome desk, party-planning service, flower wrapping and a café with 48 seats inside and 16 outside. A home delivery service will start within the first week and a play area for children has been built outside.
The store, which will employ 134 people, has also pledged 250 hours of volunteering to help local projects and charities each year and £1,000 will be given to a cause, selected from three by shoppers, every month.
Town mayor Cllr Wendy Whittle will officially open the store at 8am on Thursday, October 10. Opening hours will then be 8am to 9am Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.
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