Barnet 191: Opening

In 1962 Waitrose proudly opened its tenth supermarket in the Hertfordshire village of Barnet.
‘Those were the heady days when a ‘new public addiction to self-service shopping in Britain’ was being identified. The Gazette described the Waitrose interior as ‘surely the brightest and most richly coloured that we have so far created.’
27 years later, Barnet saw the emergence of a new supermarket incorporating all the sleek features of contemporary food shopping. On Saturday 11th March 1989 the last customer passed through the checkouts of branch 109, three days later a vastly enlarged branch 191 opened for trade.

The new Waitrose Barnet is only a few meters away from its predecessor. It has moved across the Great North Road into a new cloistered shopping centre called The Spires. Waitrose is the first and largest retailer to trade in the 26-unit centre, which will be officially opened on 23rd May [1989].
Despite the proximity of the old branch to the new, a vast distance in style separates them. ‘The new Waitrose Barnet represents a totally different era in shopping, ‘ says Manager Russell.
The selling area has trebled, the assortment has been greatly enlarged and the shop is equipped with all the service counters that characterise newer Waitrose branches. Close on 100 extra selling assistants have been recruited to bring the number of Partners and weekend assistants to nearly 200.
Russell watched the emergence of 191 across the street during the 13 months he was at the helm of the now defunct branch 109.

‘There has been training for everyone – old and new Partners alike. Most of them have had a chance to experience a short period in one of the large branches in the area’ says Russell. ‘It’s been comfortable and very cosy here – and now Partners have to adjust to the size, new departments, new levels of lighting …..’

The new branch with its cool spaciousness and comparatively restrained colours has all the technology that one would expect in a modern Waitrose food shop. Computerised temperature controls, cheque-writers, branch computers and the most up-to-date telephone systems are now taken as a matter of course.
The new Barnet shop also has the largest fruit and vegetable area in Waitrose.

Edited excerpt taken from The Gazette Vol 71 No 7.18th March 1989

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