Wokingham (221): Opening

[As reported in The Partnership’s in-house magazine, The Gazette].

Opening on October 28th 1996, Wokingham Waitrose, relocated from Peach Street to Rectory Road. This allowed the store to benefit from a large car park, ample space for a new line-up of fresh produce counters and a coffee shop.

There was plenty of excitement and media coverage surrounding the opening, with the local paper, The Wokingham Times, reporting on the story. Boards in and around the old Waitrose site enticed the customers to the new site.

Hennessey (branch manager) and Waitrose architect, Derek Mason, felt it was vital that the shop should blend in with Wokingham’s local architecture, so they used a mixture of hand-made scalloped and straight-edged clay tiles for the roof and hand-made bricks of several colours for the walls. Also incorporated were two gable ends and a tower to resemble a similar one used on the nearby Rectory Road Police Station, which was around 100 years old (at the time). Stone columns co-ordinate with the paving of the walkway through to Rose Street and the town centre.

“The car park has been carefully considered, it has been bordered by several free-standing listed walls and enhanced by lighting (designed by Nigel Middleton, Electrical Engineer). It has also been landscaped with a variety of newly-planted trees.”

The layout of the shop was as you entered the Customer Service desk was positioned to the left by the racks of newspapers and magazines. Then to the right were the fresh cut flowers. As you look further into the store the customers could see the rainbow of fresh fruit and vegetables that ran through to the salad bar and the first of the branches new service counters: hot food and delicatessen. Carry on walking and the fresh meat and fish service counters come into view. Checkouts ran along the front of the shop, leading to the patisserie counter and coffee shop.

Address: Rectory Rd, Wokingham RG40 1BB

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