Waitrose Bracknell (Bond Way, Branch 706) opened on 24/11/2011. The following appeared in the Partnership’s magazine, The Gazette, at the time.
“Waitrose Bracknell? It’s the bee’s knees. Or will it be next Summer when the bug hotel and insect wall come into their own, helping encourage bio-diversity on the site of our newest supermarket. The 25,000sq ft shop located in a town that will be forever Waitrose – thanks to the nearby head office and regional distribution centre – opened last Thursday as the division’s greenest to date.
But bat boxes, sedum roof and sun tubes aside it is also a fine shop that is spearheading the planned re-generation of the town.
Branch Manager, Graham, is happy to welcome them all: flying mammals, birds, bees and most importantly customers, describing his shop’s opening as ‘a fantastic event for Waitrose and the town of Bracknell’. Waitrose closed a local smaller branch (at Birch Hill ) several years ago and the latest arrival in Bond Way is the town’s first new build supermarket for 25 years.
HQ’s CORNER SHOP
‘It’s our 270th branch and a shining example of the Waitrose brand right on the doorstep of a head office which this year celebrated 40 years in Bracknell,’ said Graham.
Being so close to Waitrose HQ means the branch has a ready-made set of orange card carrying customers, and also makes it ideally located for trialling new products and concepts. No surprise then that it opened as a showcase for the latest of what Waitrose has to offer, ranging from a light and airy Waitrose Café to an extensive Home assortment.
Graham is proud of his 170 strong team – whittled down from 1,400 applicants. 97% live within a 10- mile radius and 75% within just 3 miles, so the shop has provided jobs for the community in which it trades.
‘We’re looking forward to investing in their training and development,’ he explains ‘as well as working with the community. We want to attract more visitors to the town and have been delighted with the support from the Bracknell Regeneration Partnership and the local council. My team, too has shown absolute dedication and I have complete confidence in their abilities for the future.’
Tom, Department Manager Retail agrees, confirming he’s keen to ‘show off this new branch and make it shine,‘ he adds that ‘the Partnership is renowned as a business as one that cares and we know people have a real desire to join us,’ he also stressed that ‘our team will offer the very best service.’
Ambient SM Steve has moved from Waitrose Ashford which also opened as part of its town‘s regeneration
‘Being part of this was too good an opportunity to miss,’ he says, ‘if you want to do something different with Waitrose, you can.’
Customer Services SM Danny has also moved from John Lewis to Waitrose. After 11 years at High Wycombe, he’s relishing the food retail challenge. ‘I wanted to see how another pat of the business operates,’ he says ‘and to experience the different pace of trade,’ Training at Waitrose Marlborough was a baptism of fire, but it’s great to be working with all this food, although my wife will be on the phone 24/7 asking me to pick up last minute shopping.’
Meanwhile, ASM Customer Services, Will, who has also transferred from Staines, extols the virtues of Waitrose café’s coffee, (‘produced on ‘the Ferrari of coffee machines’) but admits that his favourite drink is actually the hot chocolate with marshmallows. ’The café should encourage customers to spend more time in our shop,’ he explains.
For Development Programme Manager, Martyn, this is a very special branch. He’s proud not just of the shop’s green credentials but also the speed with which it has been built.
‘We only applied for planning consent last December and to achieve a November opening, we had to be brave as a business and underwrite the developer’s design and procurement costs while the judicial review process was still underway to maintain programme. That allowed construction to start on site in April, some 13 weeks earlier than if we had waited for expiry of the judicial review period and this allowed to us to open in time for Christmas trade.’
Welcome news for all concerned. After all, who wants to wait any longer than necessary for such a good thing?”
The Gazette 02.12.11
Vol 93 No 44