The new branch at Park Farm Retail Park is Kent’s first Bunnings Warehouse. It follows recent openings in Milton Keynes, Hemel Hempstead and two in St Albans.
Measuring more than 74,000sq ft, the outlet employs 95 staff and stocks more than 28,000 different home improvement and garden products.
The store features an indoor play area, café, timber cutting, garden centre, colour wall, trade help desk, and engraving and key-cutting services.
Prior to the opening, Bunnings staff were engaged with local community group projects including clearing an area for students to garden at The Beacon School, planting raised beds at Hill Road Community Garden, and creating a sensory garden for children at Casper’s Nursery.
To celebrate the opening, local resident (and Olympic champion) Lizzy Yarnold MBE joined a welcome breakfast for team members.
Two grand opening weekend events will take place this weekend (July 29-30) and next (August 5-6). A raft of free family activities are planned, including face-painting, balloon modelling and a story time session.
Bunnings is a retailer of home improvement and outdoor living products in Australia and New Zealand, operating from more than 350 sites and employing over 40,000 staff.
In February 2016 Bunnings acquired UK home improvement and garden chain Homebase. As of June, it also operates as Homebase, trading from 251 stores and employing over 12,000 team members in the UK and Ireland.
Next on the agenda for redevelopment are the Homebase stores in the Kent towns of Thanet (Broadstairs) and Sittingbourne, and the Essex town of Basildon (Vange).
Last month Bunnings announced that it plans to have 20 stores in the UK by the end of 2017.