Waitrose Colchester 455 opened on 17th September 2009.
‘Simplex Optimus’ or to translate ‘simply the best’ – that’s the vision that Colchester BM Paul has for his Waitrose branch.
Paul’s workforce of 225 new Partners are also strongly encouraged to adopt the ’carpe diem’ or ‘seize the day’ philosophy in customer service. ’We delivered our vision of the branch based on those two Latin phrases at the Welcome Event – to deliver the very best they possibly can to every customer who walks through the door, and for us to be simply the best retailer in Colchester’ said Paul.
Recruitment was one of the biggest challenges the branch faced receiving 400 applications in the first 4 days. ‘What struck the recruitment team was that although there is no Waitrose or John Lewis representation in Colchester, applicants understood about us being an employer of distinction. From their application forms it was clear that they wanted to join us because of our reputation as an employer, and what we stood for ethically as well as looking after our Partners,’ Paul said.
As well as brand new Partners, the branch has a management team of existing Partners and half a dozen or so who have transferred from other branches, including Wine Specialist Andy who was at Sudbury for ten years.
The 25,000 sq ft shop is built on the site of a former DIY store and boasts a spacious café and 265 parking spaces.
‘Following the acquisitions of Pontprennau and Weston- Super- Mare, we took the external design a stage further at Colchester,’ said Andrew, Manager Architecture.
‘We retained the existing store and structure, adding a simple elegant canopy and landmark pavilion to the sales entrance. The existing building was upgraded and air-sealed beyond building regulation requirements so that the store’s operational costs and utility bills are reduced. Reusing and reinventing existing buildings in this way is a highly sustainable form of development.’
‘I’m really thrilled with the shop and delighted with the Partners we’ve got – they are so bubbly and happy,’ said Paul.’ All the way through from applying to the welcome evening, through to training by transfer, to today when we stood there just before opening the doors for the first time, and I said I felt really privileged to be in their company – they have felt part of the Partnership, I think that’s truly unique’.
The branch has 22 200sqft of selling space and houses a 64 seat café offering freshly ground coffee and Gu hot chocolate, as well as an in-store bakery, salad bar and delicatessen. The fish counter has been extremely popular as it’s stocked with a wide range of product displayed beautifully by the team.