As Marks & Spencer opened its Foodhall in Newark for the first time on Tuesday March 29 and shoppers lined up to get their first glimpse of the delights inside, we wondered what customers really thought about a time they had the chance to enter. Did the store live up to expectations and anticipation?
One of the first customers to walk through the door on opening morning was 65-year-old Sue Crosby. The Newark resident said: “It’s been a long time coming, we’ve needed it for a long time.”
Ms Crosby, who is retired, said she used to shop at the old M&S in the town center but it was difficult to get groceries back to the car. It’s a problem that customers of this store won’t have thanks to its 100-space parking lot. She added, “It’s great, it’s a positive decision for the people of Newark.”
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Store manager Wes Kachela has been with the retailer for 25 years. He officially launched the Maltings Retail Park store with the help of M&S icon Percy Pig.
Reporter Laycie Beck was there to see the queues to enter the store and get a reaction. She said: “I was really excited to go and visit the new Foodhall and it didn’t disappoint. Despite the chilly weather the staff were warm and welcoming and really ready for the day.”
As part of the opening day celebrations, the first 200 customers through the door received M&S Golden Tickets, giving them the chance to win up to £200 in M&S vouchers. Customers also received a flyer and a reusable shopping bag at the entrance.
Councilor Debbie Derby, from Newark, also took a look around the store. Councilor Derby, said: ‘It’s a lovely layout and I’m very pleased that we now have a Marks and Spencer back in Newark. It’s fantastic that it has created jobs for the Newark area and it’s also a great location.
Mr. Kachela has accepted and hopes that he will become part of the community. He said: “It’s exciting and great to be back [in the town]. We were last in Newark in 2019 so it’s great to have a bigger, better and brighter store, I’m absolutely thrilled.”
The new neon-lit store represents a big investment for M&S in the region. Inside the brand new 13,000 square foot Foodhall, the goal is to give customers a fresh market feel, with produce displays brimming with fresh fruits and vegetables from M&S Select Farms. There is also a bakery and a selection of cheeses.
The store has already attracted customers from Newark as well as surrounding areas. Pensioner Paul Nichol, 76, of Bingham, said: ‘We’re getting used to the aisles now I guess, we’re used to the West Bridgford one. But I see my daughter-in-law coming to see her quite regularly.
His wife, Sandra, 72, from Bingham, added: “It’s fabulous. I think it’s absolutely lovely. The West Bridgford one isn’t as big as this one, and I see us coming here regularly.
Louise Proctor, from Coddington, said: “It’s bigger than I thought, and there’s a really big variety.” Retired Amanda Wasilewski, 63, of Newark, said: “The layout will take some getting used to, but it’s great.”
Social worker, Teresa Johnson, 50, from Newark, said: ‘It’s so spacious and everything has its place and it’s really fresh. This has its own building which is also very good for the people of Newark.
“We have a range of different supermarkets, but we all have our own favourites, and I love M&S because everything is so fresh and the produce is amazing.”
Mr. Kachela added, “The store is an exciting investment in the future of M&S in Newark and I look forward to our customers exploring all the new features for themselves. In addition to a warm welcome from our friendly team, customers will find produce aisles brimming with great value fresh fruits and vegetables and our in-store bakery ready to serve delicious fresh quality breads and pastries throughout the day. .