Waitrose Chiswick 760 opened on 4th December 2008.
The following article appeared in the Partnership in-house magazine at the time.
Our new Chiswick branch demonstrated the strong links it has already forged with the local community last week when two pupils from a neighbouring primary school were invited to officially open the shop.
‘It was great to have the Belmont pupils here this morning,’ said BM Mark. ‘They’re our neighbours – the school is at the back of our loading bay. We’ve already made a donation to their playground scheme and we’re going to organise for some pupils to come in, have a tour and do some product tasting. The school is also going to bring a choir across for our customer Christmas shopping evening.
The school is just one local cause the branch has already got involved with, while SMP Jo and DMCS Grant have been busy with another one. The branch has donated £1000 to ‘Pensioners Alone at Christmas’, a local charity that provides lunch on Christmas Day for 60 pensioners from the area.
The branch has also made small donations to other local schools and on opening day, Jo was due to go round and give flowers to neighbours to say thank you for their support. ‘People have been very supportive of us – they’re very excited to have a Waitrose here,’ she added.
The 9000 sq. ft shop, which was acquired from Woolworths earlier this year, together with our branches in Edgware Road, Clapham and Islington, looks set to be a huge success. Trading was strong on opening morning and feedback from customers was very positive.
‘It looks wonderful, I’m glad Waitrose is here,’ said one customer in passing. ‘I was a regular shopper at Richmond, but this one is fantastic. It’s in a fabulous area and has a wonderful open feel to it.’
One particular customer on opening day, set a few hearts fluttering – Chiswick resident, former England rugby player and Strictly Come Dancing star, Matt Dawson came to have a look around his local Waitrose, ‘I’m very interested to see that Waitrose has opened here,’ he said. ‘I want to see the fish counter, I’m a bit of a fish foodie, so if you have a good fish counter, I’ll be hooked.’
The branch has 130 Partners, most of whom are brand new to the Partnership, with only 22 transferring from other branches. On opening day, feelings of excitement were running high. The new Partners love the feel of the new branch,’ said ASM Dry Goods Caroline. ‘This is my first opening and it’s been quite smooth. I feel quite overwhelmed at how good the shop looks.’
Like Edgware Road, the previous week, the shop had to be completely transformed from a non-food retailer into a supermarket, which meant even the refrigeration had to be plumbed in and a new electrical substation had to be set up.
Now it offers customers a wide range of fresh foods, as well as Meat, Fish, Deli and Cheese counters. Local foods stocked include dressings from the French Dressings Company in Chiswick and coffee and fruit beers from Meantime Brewing Company in Greenwich.
Busy customers can grab a freshly made baguette, some soup or a coffee from the Food To Go counter which is the first of our trial smaller take- away food counters and is joined on to the Deli and Cheese counters facing the front of the shop.
‘Chiswick has been a first-class project, delivered at a cracking pace – an excellent team working with internal and external Partners.’ said Tony, Head of Construction Management. ‘I am so proud that we have turned a tired Woolworths into a fantastic advert for our brand in a catchment area that is so right for us. We have had to work hard in getting new power supplies, working with a building that has real structural limitations and a stubborn lamppost that refused to move itself. I couldn’t be happier with the result.’
‘I am very optimistic about our prospects in Chiswick, which is very much Waitrose territory. It will really strengthen our presence in London. I have also been tremendously impressed, by the attitude of Partners, old and new, who already have a strong sense of pride in their splendid new branch.’
‘I am delighted that Partners have been driving through a fantastic new shop with high standards of customer service and merchandising,’ said Mark Price. ‘Waitrose is very lucky to have an incredible pool of experienced and talented people to see us through the economic downturn, and through branches like this, we can build on our success for the future.’
Vol 68 No 50