Waitrose opened a new branch in the Staffordshire market town of Uttoxeter on Thursday (March 17).
Waitrose Uttoxeter was officially unveiled by JCB chairman Lord Bamford and MP Andrew Griffiths. They joined branch manager Peter Gibbs and his team in cutting the ribbon and welcoming the store’s first customers.
The new branch is located on land that used to house JCB’s Pinfold Street factory. The site was used for manufacturing for almost 140 years, firstly for agricultural machinery maker Bamfords and latterly for JCB Heavy Products, which relocated to a new £40 million facility in 2008.
Lord Bamford said: “I’m delighted that my vision for this site is beginning to take shape, particularly as my family has had such long association with this part of the town.
The opening of the Waitrose store is a very important step in delivering a development which will leave a legacy to Uttoxeter for future generations.”
Mr Griffiths added: “This new store is a huge boost for the Uttoxeter economy and will help create even more local jobs. It’s fantastic to see such a well renowned business like Waitrose come to the town and I’m delighted that JCB have been able to deliver a development on their redundant site, which breathes new life into this brownfield land.”
The new 25,000sq ft store is the third Waitrose in Staffordshire. The branch has created 120 new jobs and provides the retailer’s latest offer, including meat, fish and deli counters, a bakery, an extensive wine department and the John Lewis ‘click and collect’ service.
Branch manager, Peter Gibbs, said: “We’re proud to be part of the redevelopment of such an important site for Uttoxeter and are very grateful to Andrew and Lord Bamford for joining us at the opening to help mark the occasion.
“We’re looking forward to meeting our new customers, becoming part of the community and providing a fantastic new shopping experience for local residents.”
The opening sees Waitrose launch a number of initiatives to support the local community, including its Community Matters ‘green token’ scheme.
Every month, £1,000 will be donated to local charities chosen by customers, with the first organisations confirmed as Scropton Riding School for the Disabled; SV2 which supports victim of sexual violence; and mental health charity Art and Soul in Uttoxeter.
The branch will also provide 250 hours each year to causes through the Waitrose Partner Volunteering programme, and after Easter it will offer a community room free of charge for use by local not-for-profit organisations.