Waitrose comes to Chesham: 1969
Waitrose Chesham 130 opened on 25th November 1969.
The following article appeared in the Partnership in-house magazine at the time.
The opening of the latest branch of Waitrose in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, on 25th November , marked the end of the 1969 phase of openings. This new branch has an outstanding façade like a battlement, which can be clearly seen from all parts of the High Street and the front entrance is conveniently opposite a zebra crossing. Chesham lies in a valley among the Chilterns and behind the shop, parkland slopes up to the horizon, providing a delightful view for the check-out operators in between customers. The Partners’ Dining and Rest Room on the first floor, shares the same view. The back entrance opens on to the council’s car park which is free.
Inside there are all the usual departments – delicatessen, wine, foods, non-foods and green groceries and an express check-out for customers with six items or less. The selling space covers 7350 square feet and 87 Partners are employed, approximately 30 of whom are weekend juniors.
Mr Witkin, who is the Manager, was previously the Manager at Temple Fortune. His deputy is Mr Borrowdale. Though they are finding recruitment a little difficult and suffered from delays in the building programme – a fortnight ago they were keeping their fingers crossed that they would be able to open on time (the fittings had not been erected and there were electric wires hanging from several places in the ceiling) – they are happy with the final result. Certainly it can be proudly admired by all the Waitrose Partners involved, since Chesham is one of the most attractive of the new branches. Mr Borrowdale also remarked that the weather was ideal for an opening day – sunny and crisp. Customers were certainly streaming in as the morning went on and the opening of a second new supermarket elsewhere in the area, on the same day didn’t seem to have attracted them away.
Among the Partners at Chesham are several who have transferred from department stores. Mr Skyner, the non-food Manager, was previously at Bainbridge Wholesale and he has also worked on the retail side in Bainbridge and in Trewin Brothers. When we asked him what main difference he found between department stores and the food group, he said it was the increase in pace that struck him the most, ‘It’s exciting to see how quickly the goods disappear off the shelves.’
Vol 51 No 44