Waitrose Cowplain, branch 133, opened on Tuesday 28th October 1969 – branch Manager Mr D H Lumb. Mr Lumb had previously been Deputy Manager at Watford and was pleased that there was no difficulty in recruiting staff from the locality – in fact over 400 people had applied for the one hundred available jobs.
Thirty or forty people had gathered outside on opening morning, many making full use of the customer car park, with spaces for one hundred cars. Two customers were particularly impressed by the variety of foreign foods and Continental ingredients on sale in the spice and delicatessen sections. On the first day of trading the branch took £2,000.
Since Cowplain was in a Navy area, many of the supermarket’s customers and staff had connections with the sea. The Deputy Manager, Mr R J Barber, was himself a sailor until as recently as June that year, when he joined the Partnership as a trainee. He forcast that because Thursday was pay day in the Navy, it would be one of the busiest days for the supermarket. Several other Partners were also ex-Navy: the four male Partners in the warehouse were all sailors.
Among the merchandise proving specially popular at Cowplain were the exotic foods – mangoes, persimmons, and so on.
Waitrose Cowplain closed in November 2000, relocating and becoming Waitrose Waterlooville. ‘It seemed apt that one of the first shoppers through the door of the new branch was the first customer through the door of the Cowplain branch in 1969 – Joan Bailey.