Waitrose Droitwich 672 opened on 14th July 2005.
The following article appeared in the Partnership in-house magazine at the time.
Waitrose Droitwich enjoyed a warm welcome from residents of the Worcestershire spa market town when it opened on Thursday 14th July .
Situated in a prime trading location, the branch is in the town centre, but easily accessible by road. It is also attractively situated, bordering Vines Park where there is still evidence of the salt mine workings which once dominated the town’s fortunes, and a canal as well as some of Droitwich’s most historic buildings.
On opening day, Waitrose’s newest branch welcomed 3600 customers, many of whom hope that Waitrose will revitalise the town centre, returning it to some of the prosperity formerly enjoyed by Droitwich when it was salt producer and renowned spa town.
Caroline, Branch Manager was delighted with the incredible success of the first day’s trading. ‘Everyone seemed pleased that we are open because they see us as the key to the town’s regeneration. Visitors were pleasantly surprised by the quality of our assortments, high service levels and overall shopping environment.’
The branch which has taken nine years to complete, has been complex in terms of construction and planning issues. Built on the site of the former Droitwich salt mines, the location was designated a scheduled ancient monument by English Heritage. Waitrose had to work in partnership with numerous official bodies to make sure the final building complied.
For Gareth, Construction Project Manager, Waitrose Droitwich has been the most difficult project he has undertaken.
‘Now it is open I feel proud that Partners and suppliers have worked closely to produce such a beautiful branch,’ he says ‘it is a stunning, contemporary building, celebrating the best of 21st century architecture, while cleverly blending in with one of Droitwich’s oldest areas.’
Waitrose Managing Director, Steven Eason agrees. ‘This branch looks fantastic and is an excellent example of how public and private sectors can work together. As a way of showing our appreciation to Wychaven District Council for its co-operation and support during this project, we invited the mayor and councillors to a civic reception at the branch, the evening before opening…It has been great to meet so many Waitrose Kidderminster Partners, who took the opportunity to join Waitrose Droitwich following the closure of their old branch.’
Forty Partners joined the branch from Waitrose Kidderminster as well as from other branches.
Adam, Section Manager, Fruit and Vegetables, who joins from Waitrose Great Malvern said ” It is full of natural light, spacious and airy.
Nicola, Section Manager Fresh Foods “The range of meat is outstanding, particularly on the service counter”.
The majority of Partners are new, but they have quickly taken Waitrose values on board.
Customer Cynthia said ‘The building looks amazing, the roof looks like clouds in the sky and integrates wonderfully into the old town’. Cynthia uses a wheelchair and also commented that the disabled access is exceptional. ‘Waitrose promises a better way of life for us,’ she explains, ’It is going to be the start of a healthier eating regime. I will be coming here every day to buy small quantities. Buying a little fresh, best quality and often is our new mantra.’
Droitwich’s mayor said. ‘Waitrose’s opening is an important factor in our plans to regenerate Droitwich. As well as attracting more people to the High Street, we are expecting other well-known retailers to follow. The branch looks exceptional and has been a massive achievement. We are very pleased Waitrose is here.’
Vol 87 No 25