Waitrose Caterham 178 opened on 9.11.1982.
The following article appeared in the Partnership in-house magazine at the time.
For those of us without cars, the new Waitrose at Caterham, which opened on Tuesday, must be the easiest Partnership branch to get to from Central London. Take a train from London Bridge and Caterham is forty minutes away, at the end of the line, and the train draws up right alongside the branch, which is built on what used to be the station car park. It almost seems a pity that there isn’t a direct entrance from the platform – it would save the 20 yard walk through the barrier.
Car owners are well-catered for too. The branch has its own integrated multi-storey car park, the top open-air storey extends over the supermarket’s shopping floor. The car park holds 280 cars. By agreement with British Rail, 150 places are reserved during the weekdays for commuters who have reserved parking places. In the evenings and on Saturdays, the whole of the car park is available for Waitrose shoppers.
Two passenger lifts take customers from the supermarket floor to the upstairs or downstairs levels of the car park. The branch is built on a slope: the shop floor is on ground level at the front, but the ‘basement level ‘ of the four storey car park is on ground level at the rear.
Viewed from the side, the combination of what is car park and supermarket makes the new branch appear big enough for a fair-sized department store.
Inside, unusually, the shelves run across the width of the shop.
Another unusual feature of the design is that the 10 checkouts are at the side of the supermarket and half-way back. A separate wide passageway leads frrm there to the car park lifts, or you can turn in the other direction for the front exit.
Waitrose Caterham has a total of 117 staff, including weekend juniors. Recruiting was reasonably easy says the Branch Manager Raymond, although there are still a few vacancies for part-timers.
The centre of Caterham has the appearance of a long village high street. There were already two small branches of well-known supermarket chains, a minute Woolworths and about 40 other small shops. The nearest large supermarkets to the new Waitrose are at Purley, just over three miles to the north, and a little further north, Raymond’s previous branch at Coulson. However, Raymond thinks his new branch will not take too much trade away from his old one, as he expects to draw most of his-out-of-town customers from the south.
Under Branch Manager Raymond, the management team at Caterham come from a variety of branches such as: Crowborough, Horley, Coulsdon, Allington Park, Banstead, Epsom and Green Street Green.
Gazette Vol 64 No 41