Waitrose Chichester 172 opened on 11th November 1980.
The following article appeared in the Partnership in-house magazine at the time:
Since 27th October when the builders moved in, the scene at Chichester changed from the bare shell of an anonymous supermarket to a recognisable branch of Waitrose.
Last Friday, four days before opening, the shelves were also filled. Only the perishable goods sections were still empty and would remain so until 5am on opening day.
In every part of the shop Partners were buckling down to get the work done on time.
ADVICE FROM MERCHANDISING TEAM
Some were from various departments at Bracknell. The Merchandising team were particularly in evidence, advising on layout and keeping track of orders coming in.
The majority of course, were the new Chichester team – over a hundred of them. Many of the Section Managers have transferred from other branches – the grocery manager, Brian, from as far away as Hall Green near Birmingham. A number of them are sharing houses together. But a large proportion of the branch team are newly recruited from the area.
The layout and proportions of the shop are very similar to Waitrose Southsea. The wine shop has its own entrance at one side of the store.
Mr Mayhew, the Branch Manager, who has moved from Waitrose Cowplain, expects a good trade in Chichester. There are tourists in the town for much of the year, he says. Apart from the attraction of Chichester itself, with its cathedral and festival theatre, there is a yachting basin a few miles away. A weekly market takes place and also a cattle market.
The meat manager, Gerry (ex Havant and Fleet) showed me how much more convenient and streamlined is the meat preparation in a Waitrose branch than it was even 10 years ago. In the cold room are brand new mobile racks which are which make hanging space flexible. Once the meat has been cut and weighed in its tray, it is wrapped on an automatic machine. Some cuts of bacon are vacuum-packed for longer shelf-life.
Among all the modern equipment of the branch there were still a few trestle tables and make-shift notice boards last Friday, set up as a checkpoint for merchandise. Merchandising Partners from Bracknell were ticking off each delivery of stock against an enormous list.
HELP FROM OTHER BRACNCHES
Even in the kitchen there is a helping hand from other branches. Sarah from Central Catering and Avril from Havant are helping the branch cook, June and her team to feed the hungry workers. The new dining-room is light and airy with a lofty pitched whitewashed ceiling, but no one feels like sunning themselves on the patio in this weather.
COMPLETED ON TIME
Mr Mayhew is pleased with the way things have gone. Despite the few hold-ups during the building works, mentioned in our article last August, it was completed on time – just as the architect Mr Collinson had promised. Partners were spared the problem of trying to fill the shelves alongside contractors drilling holes. They commented on the efficiency of the merchandising advisory team which made the job much easier.
Now they’re doing it for real!