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Copdock Tesco celebrates 30th anniversary with long-serving staff

PUBLISHED: 16:24 17 November 2017 | UPDATED: 16:24 17 November 2017

Local school children help celebrate Tesco Copdock's  30th anniversary. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Local school children help celebrate Tesco Copdock's 30th anniversary. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Staff and customers at the Copdock Tesco store have been celebrating three decades of every little helps with a special day marking its 30th anniversary today.

Store manager Jon Bandell and Pam Squirrell officially celebrate Tesco Copdock anniversary. Picture: GREGG BROWNStore manager Jon Bandell and Pam Squirrell officially celebrate Tesco Copdock anniversary. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The store opened on November 17 1987, and in that time has served thousands of customers.

Earlier today, to mark 30 years since the opening, children from Gusford, Sprites and The Oaks primary schools joined long-serving staff, managers and regular customers to celebrate the occasion.

Store manager Jon Bandell said: “It’s great to see so many on the day. I have been here five years and I feel really privileged to be here. Some of the staff who started here when it opened mentioned to me about three or four months ago it was the 30th year, so we started to plan for today.”

Remarkably, 16 members of staff at the store have worked there since day one, and eight of those working on Friday celebrated the camaraderie of working together for three decades by sporting purple 30 years t-shirts.

Some of the staff have been at the store for the full 30 years. Picture: GREGG BROWNSome of the staff have been at the store for the full 30 years. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Jennifer Smith, 53, said: “It’s an honour – you need to celebrate things like this because it’s a milestone.

June Hughes, 64, added: “You do get to know customers – I am on self service and with the older people who buy alcohol I always ask for ID, and I say ‘I will let you off this time’ and joke with them.

“It’s about having a laugh and helping people.”

Ms Smith said that the store had changed a lot, and added: “I don’t think you would recognise Tesco in ‘87.”

Officially cutting the ribbon and opening the new Tesco super store back in 1987Officially cutting the ribbon and opening the new Tesco super store back in 1987

Among some of the key changes in that time have been the technology, with tills having changed from completely manual entering to scanned and self-service checkouts, as well as changes in stock monitoring, training and how customers like to shop.

But at the heart of it remains their drive to work as a team and continue to help and serve customers.

In the store’s entrance a board with memories and news stories over the last 30 years was displayed, while store manager Mr Bandell was joined by customer Pam Squirrell – a dedicated shopper who visits each week since it opened – to cut a ceremonial ribbon.

How the Tesco opening led to love

Standing outside the newly opened Tesco superstore in 1987Standing outside the newly opened Tesco superstore in 1987

For one Ipswich couple, the Tesco opening was the beginning of a romantic journey last more than 20 years and counting.

Kim Williams, 51, who started at the store when it opened met husband Robin after he joined a year later.

The 44-year-old was temporarily Kim’s manager, which led to a unique first date.

Kim said: “I asked him for a certain day off because I wanted to see a Michael Jackson concert at Wembley, and he agreed but only if he could take me!”

The rows of checkouts ready to help customersThe rows of checkouts ready to help customers

The couple have been together ever since, marrying in the Dominican Republic in September 1995.

Remarkably, both still work for Tesco – Kim at the Copdock store and Robin with a roaming role at the town’s express stores.

Robin, who celebrates his 30th year with the company in 2018, added: “I think people like to be in and out of jobs these days so to say you have been here 30 years is quite an achievement.”

Did you work at the store? Share your memories by emailing us here.

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