Ipswich: Wait is nearly over for new Little Waitrose in town centre

IPSWICH: Excitement is building today as last-minute preparations are completed ahead of the opening of the town’s first Waitrose store.

The Little Waitrose is due to open to customers at 7am on Wednesday with an official opening by Ipswich Mayor John Le Grys and Ipswich MP Ben Gummer at 8am.

Store manager Fiona McWilliam said: “We are really excited about opening. We have had loads of customers knocking on the door and we are working very hard getting everything ready.”

Originally from Warrington, the 30-year-old said the store had recruited 42 new members of staff.

She added: “We have a great team and we are all starting together. We are really looking forward to trading. It is the first store in Ipswich and we are looking forward to bringing the brand to the town.”

As reported by the Ipswich Star, the firm – which is owned by its staff through the John Lewis Partnership – is planning to open a larger Waitrose and John Lewis At Home store at the former Cranes factory site on Ransomes Road in 2013.

Miss McWilliam said the Little Waitrose will sell more than 3,000 lines at the 3,000 square feet store under the Ipswich Corn Exchange.

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The store will sell a selection of dried and fresh goods including a fresh bakery, non-food items, alcohol and Waitrose branded products. Daily deliveries will take place at the town centre store at 5am.

As the shelf stacking and last- minute checks continued Miss McWilliam added: “Our aim is to be a convenient store for people in town buying products for use over the next 24 to 48 hours. Our staff have been through thorough training programmes at our Colchester branch and we can’t wait to start.”

Michelle Matthews, 41, of the Pinewood area of Ipswich, will be working at the new store as a cashier supervisor.

The former medical receptionist said: “The countdown has begun and we are extremely excited. It is like being part of a big family. I am really enjoying it.”

The store will be open from 7am to 9pm Monday to Saturday and from 9am to 8pm on Sundays.

As part of Waitrose’s Community Matters scheme, the store will donate an annual sum of �6,000 to local causes and projects nominated by staff.

n Do you think this will be a good boost to the town centre? Write to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or you can send an e-mail to starletters @archant.co.uk