Oxford’s Waitrose supermarket opened its doors in Botley Road yesterday. Eager customers queued from 7.20am outside the new store for the first spoils at 8am. Department manager at the store Craig Barnard said: “The tills have been ringing since we opened. “They were queuing outside at 7.20am and so far the response has been really positive. “I’m most pleased that a good proportion of customers are walking.” Susan Taylor stopped into the new store while taking the bus back to Farmoor from Oxford. The 67-year-old said: “I’m very pleased it’s here. The value for money is really good. “I see this one’s got a café too which is nice. I think that’s going to be my first stop.”
More than 200 jobs have been created and the 24,500 square foot store which also has a 90-seat café. Five people were brought in for opening day to help customers park their cars. However, some felt the car parking was not ideal. Lesley and Eileen Hathaway travelled from Kidlington to visit the store. Mr Hathaway said: “The car parking spaces aren’t the best. I don’t think they’re big enough. And the pedestrian path is also in the wrong place. It should be up against the building rather than behind the cars.” Mrs Taylor added: “It’s a very skinny entrance to the car park. We had to turn left and cross the bus lane but there was a bus that wouldn’t let us go. But apart from that it seems really nice. It’s a lovely building.”
Plans for the supermarket were granted by Oxford City Council in May last year. It sits on land formerly used for Halfords car part dealer and MFI furniture retailer.
Deputy Lord Mayor of Oxford Colin Cook and Ambrose Emmanuelle, a cheery security guard who has manned the Waitrose site for the last six months during construction, both joined branch manager Greg Porter in cutting the ribbon.
Mr Porter said: “Ambrose proved to be a huge hit with passers by as was always happy to help and greet people with a smile. He was the first person to be on the site and has kept everything in order, with his enthusiasm for his job never waning. We were delighted both he and the Deputy Lord Mayor could join us for the opening.”Katriona Ormiston @ Oxfordshire Guardian