Waitrose is ready to open in Chipping Sodbury
Ready for the new Waitrose opening, Mark Lloyd, chairman of Sodbury Chamber of Commerce, mayor of Chipping Sodbury Cllr Wendy Whittle and Steve Webb MP with Waitrose partners Candice Lansdown and Caron Gay and store manager Richard Clare
THE shelves are stocked, tills have been checked and staff have tried on their new uniforms – Chipping Sodbury is ready for its first supermarket.
Waitrose opens in the town this Thursday, October 10 in a brand new store, the company’s greenest building ever, on the site of a former quarry.
In the weeks leading up to the opening, excitement amongst eager shoppers has been growing particularly after a new footbridge, linking Barnhill Quarry with the High Street, opened to the public last week.
Mayor Cllr Wendy Whittle said: “Everybody has been walking around and looking at the store before it had even opened. It definitely shows there is a lot of interest already.
“I think it will be a good thing for Sodbury. It is going to bring more people to the town.”
The 21,000 square feet supermarket has been just over nine months in the making, with years spent on the planning process beforehand.
It will stock 21,000 lines and offer a party planning service, a home delivery option including to Thornbury, Acton Turville and Chippenham and a click and collect service in the future. There will also be a cafe, home section and a children’s play area outside as well as 57 four-hour parking spaces, 153 two-hour spaces and 103 spaces in the town's free car park.
It will be staffed by 163 partners, 134 of whom are new and are predominantly local.
Store manager Rich Clare said: “Everything is on track, the new team is fabulous and everyone is raring to go.”
Long-time supporter of the scheme, Mark Lloyd, chairman of Sodbury Chamber of Commerce, said he hoped Waitrose would deliver on its objective to attract 14,000 customers each week.
“We only need 10 per cent of those to come to the High Street and we would be colossally busy,” he said. “That is the unknown quantity but personally I am confident it will happen.”
He added: “This is the biggest thing that has happened in Chipping Sodbury since it was first set up as a town. And it is certainly the biggest business to arrive in the town for a long time.
“It is a significant moment and for the time being, all the doubt and criticism has gone away and now we wait to see what happens when the store opens.”
Thornbury and Yate MP Steve Webb said: “What is really encouraging is that this has created over 150 jobs in the area and the footbridge to the High Street, which is vital.
“It is really important to encourage that two-way flow. We know people will come from further afield to use Waitrose and we need to make sure they use the High Street.”
The supermarket will be officially opened by Cllr Whittle at 8am on Thursday and will then open from 8am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.
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