Manager Gary Watkins (right above) invited me to have a look at the new Sainsbury store. It will be opened next Tuesday at 9am when Janet Beddar (left above) will cut the ribbon and officially open the store. Janet lives in Chippy and has worked in different stores on the site for longer than she cares to remember. "I�m really looking forward to the opening day" she told me. "The only thing I'm worried about is that every one seems to think Jamie Oliver is coming and they may be a bit disappointed when they find out its only me" Not a chance Janet. All your old friends will be there and will be pleased to see another friendly face alongside all the other Somerfield staff who have been kept on. There are an additional 28 new jobs compared with previously - a new total of 78. Quite a few staff are transferring from the Banbury store because Chippy is more convenient. Gary himself has been working in Dunstable and this is his first managerial appointment. Good luck to him!
The store does looks really good already - even with mostly empty shelves. There's an updated Sainsbury colour scheme - with a lot of very elegant dark blue. All the fittings are new and all the chilled and frozen cabinets are in very trendy-looking stainless steel. Everything is so clean and fresh and the lighting makes it all feel spacious. Half a million pounds at the very least I would guess - although nobody was saying. There is an in-store bakery- that will be the only one in town won't it The booze shelves are getting slowly filled and I counted 19 different types of Cider. There will be four self-scan checkouts. It all looks like a genuine makeover - not just a paint job!
Best of all I was assured that the prices in Chippy will be the exactly the same as prices in the Banbury and Kidlington stores. No marking prices up for smaller rural outlets. A couple of months ago the manager bought a specific list of items in the old Chippy Somerfields store to compare with the Sainsbury store at Banbury. The result - �57 in Chippy Somerfield - �49 in Sainsbury. ....14% OFF! These are the prices we are now promised in Chippy.
One of the first things the store will be doing is nominating a local Charity of the Year. Suggestions are invited from customers and the final choice will be made by the employees representatives group (or "colleagues council" as they say in Sainsbury's). This sounds like something really helpful. The chosen charity will be allowed to move into the store and make collections several days a year. The chosen charity will be helped with resources and supplies for fetes and fund-raising events. Oh and there will be some cash involved as well.
While I was visiting who should look in but the chief marketing honcho for the east of England - 120 stores under his wing. I persuaded him to try out a bit of sales promotion using chippingnorton.net. He was very prepared to have a go so we got creative on the spot. Here's the deal. Next Monday we will publish three questions. You find out the answers by visiting the store (geddit) Entries to be submitted by e-mail to chippingnorton.net. Correct entries are sent to the store and a draw is made by Gary. Each week for three weeks there will be three winners who will each receive Sainsbury shopping vouchers for �140. The questions will change each week. That can't be bad can it (Sainsbury employees and their families can't enter but they will have their own separate competition! Sorry about that Gill!) Why �140 Well haven't you seen the ads yet This year is the 140th birthday of Sainsburys - and I reckon it was pretty smart of them to mark it by opening a store in Chippy.
Its fantastic to have a company like Sainsbury move into the Market Square. I told Gary that I thought there would be a really enthusiastic welcome for his new store. He hopes you will all be there for the ribbon cutting by Janet on Tuesday at 9am. After that, the first customer to cross the threshold of the new store will receive a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I suggested that there should be fresh-baked croissants from the bakery to try as well.