New supermarket prepares to open doors

STAFF at Ipswich's newest supermarket are counting down the days until they can welcome the first wave of shoppers to their new store.

STAFF at Ipswich's newest supermarket are counting down the days until they can welcome the first wave of shoppers to their new store.

A crowd of employees are busying themselves throughout this week in preparation for the store's official opening next Monday.

All that's missing are the finishing touches as the shelves fill up at the long-awaited supermarket in Stoke Park Drive.

The store had a troubled start when Asda pulled out of the project in May 2007 following the withdrawal of its residential partner.

No other developers came forward to build the residential units, which came as a condition of planning permission, but the company announced last October it would nevertheless return to the site.

Store Manager Steve Clarke comes to the Stoke Park store with years of experience working across the region with Asda. He said: “The store will be very convenient for people in the local area.

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“The building is unobtrusive and there is plenty of green space surrounding it.

“We have filled around 200 full and part time positions and the team ethic has already begun.

“We have taken 20 colleagues from other stores and everyone else is from the local area so many of them already know each other.”

The store's events coordinator Mandy Chapman said: “The opening of the store will be great for local people.

“They have been waiting for a long time because of problems at the development stage but now they have somewhere that offers employment and links to the community.

“We have been in touch with lots of local groups and are aiming to promote children's sports and healthy eating.

“It's all very exciting at the moment and when I walk down the street in my uniform people ask me when the store is due to open.”

Are you glad to see the new Asda opening in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk