Shoppers queue to see inside Chipping Sodbury's new Waitrose supermarket
SHOPPERS queued on the first cold day of autumn to herald the opening of Chipping Sodbury’s new supermarket.
Waitrose was officially opened by town mayor Cllr Wendy Whittle at 8am today, as eager shoppers waited for their first glimpse inside the 21,000 square feet store.
Cllr Whittle said: “I am delighted to be able to open this store. There will be a change in Chipping Sodbury from today for the better.
“I am sure it is going to increase footfall in the town and will make everyone happy because everyone will be busy including all the local shops.”
The first three customers through the door were handed a bouquet of flowers and bottle of champagne each and goodie bags were given to early bird shoppers.
At a preview evening for invited guests last night, manager Rich Clare said he was thrilled to be opening Waitrose’s greenest ever store which will use a biomass boiler, LED lighting and have an energy champion in store.
“I thank the people of Chipping Sodbury for their patience,” he said. “I hope people will welcome the benefits of having the branch here. Not only is there fantastic food but also we are going to be part of the community.
“Part of my promise is to really integrate with the town and as part of that we have a fantastic walkway linking with the High Street.”
The store stocks 21,000 lines including local suppliers Wickwar Brewery and Marshfield Bakery, a cafe, homeware section, flower wrapping service, party planning service, online ordering option and a click and collect service will be introduced at a later day. The store has employed 163 partners, 134 of whom are new to the John Lewis Partnership.
After half an hour of trading, Mr Clare added: “My team are absolutely buzzing. We have a fantastic team who are so motivated and are really enjoying the experience.
“We have a lot of new things we are trialling at this store for Waitrose and will work hard over the coming weeks to make sure they are well received.”
Will Wrighton, an assistant in the fresh food department who has just joined Waitrose, said: “I have been here two weeks and it is a really nice place to work. It is very professional with the highest standards I have seen but everyone is really friendly and there are some brilliant opportunities to further my career.”
Mr Wrighton, 28 and from Yate, added: “There has been some nervousness but we have all been excited and want to get on with working.”
The supermarket is part of a wider development of 160 homes and an elderly people’s complex on Barnhill Quarry. It was first proposed several years ago by developers Chelverton Deeley Fred, with Waitrose coming on board in 2007, and won detailed planning permission last summer with work starting in January.
As part of the planning agreement, a footbridge over the River Frome linking Waitrose with the High Street’s array of independent shops was built amid concerns about the impact of the supermarket on other traders. Paddy Fox, director of Chelverton Deeley Free, said: “I am so pleased to see the store come to fruition and see the footbridge open linking the High Street.
“Work on four new retail units in that link is expected to get underway in the New Year and we are in negotiations over who will occupy them.”
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