Our Altrincham branch opened its doors for the first time last week, bringing Waitrose’s environmental credentials right into the 21st century as it became our greenest branch yet.
This isn’t just because the 20,800sq feet branch is built on a former National Trust property overlooking green fields in Cheshire. It’s also because the building encompasses a whole host of environmental initiatives – one of which is its unique water-cooled refrigeration system which cuts our carbon footprint by 20% and it is a first in UK retail.
The introduction of the water-cooled refrigeration system follows on from our announcement in June this year that we will no longer be using conventional HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) refrigerants, which have a high global -warming potential, in our new and major refitted shops from the end of this year onwards.
‘The National Trust has given up this land to a company like Waitrose whose values they respect. In conjunction with the National Trust we have been able to build this very fine branch loaded with green credentials.’ says BM Steve Long.
‘We worked very closely with the National Trust to ensure that we put initiatives into the design and construction of this branch to make it as environmentally sensitive as possible .’ says Steve Isaia Head of Feasibility and Maintenance.
The branch has 176 non-management Partners who are brand new to the Partnership, a team of ten management Partners who have transferred from other branches and three who have moved from John Lewis, one from Trafford and two from Cheadle. The recruitment team received more than 1200 applications.
‘I am from Manchester originally and I was living in London’ said SM Ambient, Victoria, who moved from our Worcester Park branch. ‘ I wanted to come back to my home town and its’s also an exciting opportunity to make the brand known here where people have never heard of Waitrose. It’s gone really well so far – the support we have had from other departments has been fantastic. The new Partners have been very impressed with us and we’ve had a very positive feedback from them already.’
‘The enthusiasm on the shop floor was certainly tangible. I’ve always loved the food in Waitrose, everything’s neat and fresh and the shelves look really cared for.’ said Supermarket Assistant Operations, Linda, who was asked to cut the ribbon to open the shop as she had celebrated her 55th birthday the day before.
‘I was after something new ‘ said Checkouts Partner Sandra who has formerly worked for Boots and the Post Office. It’s gone very well. We were trained at the Cheadle Hulme branch which was really good. I just want to get started.’
Deliver driver Stuart didn’t think twice when he had to choose between Waitrose and Asda. I went for an interview here as a Deliver driver first but was told there weren’t any vacancies, but they would put me at the top of their waiting list’ he said. ‘In the meantime, I was offered a job at Asda, so I did two weeks training with them. The night I was to do my first shift with them I got a call from Waitrose, saying a vacancy for a Delivery driver had come up. I made my decision within a minute – there was no comparison between Waitrose and Asda. I am really excited about working here.‘
‘I’d heard so much about Waitrose and what a wonderful company it is to work for and was lucky to be taken on.’ said Loading Bay Partner John. ‘It’s one big happy family already. It’s a pleasure coming to work in the morning.’
For Supermarket Assistant Customer Service Alan who is on the Cheese Counter, working for Waitrose is an ideal chance to combine a hobby with work. ‘Cooking is my passion, and this is a chance to learn something as well.’ he said. The Cheese Counter has a rather different atmosphere from his previous job. He retired earlier this year from a 25-year career as an Inspector in the Metropolitan Police. ‘ I’ve worked in some pretty rough parts of London, so however stressful things could get with customers here, it’s kept in perspective compared to what I used to do.’
Chronicle. Vol 69. No 43.