Sunny conditions and a crowd of interested locals greeted the reopening of a SPAR convenience store on Mendip Avenue in Chester-le-Street.
After a significant refurbishment, the popularity of the SPAR on Mendip Avenue in Chester-le-Street was there for all to see on its relaunch day amid an atmosphere of excitement under bright blue skies.
The extensive refit has been two months in the making, and new additions to the store include a Clayton Park Bakery hot Food To Go unit that is stacked with tasty snacks and meals.
An enhanced range of great value refreshment options are also major new store features, and these include a popular Fanta Frozen machine and a Cheeky Coffee offer.
These complement the store’s plentiful offer of fresh foods, Food To Go, major branded products, along with beers, wines and spirits.
During the two-month refit, the SPAR store has also had a change of ownership following the retirement of longstanding independent retailer Gary Maddison.
James Hall & Co. Ltd, SPAR UK’s primary wholesaler and distributor for the North of England, is the new owner of the store, and an intrigued local community congregated for the 11am reopening to see the changes that have been made inside.
The first 50 customers through the doors received ‘Tonight’s Tea for Free’ and residents queueing to get in the store were holding their ‘£5 off a £15 shop’ SPAR money-off coupons.
SPAR Mendip Avenue has served the community in Chester-le-Street for almost 20 years, and Gary Maddison returned to cut the ribbon to reopen the store alongside Cllr Paul Sexton.
They were joined by Dominic Hall and Fiona Drummond, Joint Managing Director and Company Stores Director, respectively, at James Hall & Co. Ltd.
Trevor was one local resident to visit the SPAR store on relaunch day. He said: “I live behind the SPAR and the store is much better after the improvements with a lot more range. I think the hot food counter and the new coffee machine will do very well. I will use it regularly as I know the staff.”
Suzanne, another store regular, said: “My first impressions are the SPAR is fully-equipped with everything that you would need under one roof, and I like the coffee offer.”
Adam, also a local resident, said: “I shopped at the store before and the changes that have been made are great. It’s a good layout and is much brighter. I’ll be making use of the new features and I’m looking forward to shopping here again now it has reopened.”
Community has been put at the heart of the SPAR Mendip Avenue reopening. SPAR has agreed to partner with Chester-le-Street Community Centre, home to a diverse range of clubs, groups and societies in the local area.
Within the store, there will also be a designated area for donating items for one of the local foodbanks operating in Chester-le-Street.
Fiona Drummond said: “What a reception we had for our newly-acquired SPAR store at Mendip Avenue! With the crowds that gathered, I think it shows just how valued the store is by the local community it serves.
“We have invested to secure the store’s future and improve the offer for local residents. To hear the feedback from customers on the exciting new store features and the range of products we have makes me very happy. I’m proud to call Mendip Avenue a James Hall company-owned store.
“SPAR is like a family, and it was our pleasure to welcome previous owner Gary Maddison back to support the reopening alongside Cllr Paul Sexton.
“Gary served the local community with distinction for many years as a SPAR independent retailer. We wish him a long and happy retirement and we look forward to continuing to serve our customers in the manner that they are used to.”
For more information about James Hall & Co. Ltd, please visit www.jameshall.co.uk.