The existing Co-op store, which was acquired by Waitrose last November, ceased trading last Saturday and the keys were handed over to Waitrose today.
The Waitrose team will refurbish the building into a new branch, which will have meat, fish, and cheese counters, a patisserie and new café.
From the end of April, the Waitrose Delivery Service will also be available.
The new store will be run by a team of just over 200 ‘partners’, including the existing Co-op employees and 125 new members of staff. Partners are each entitled to a say in how the business is run, as well as a share of the profits in the form of a yearly bonus, which last year, equated to nine weeks wages.
The team will also include a new apprentice, who is joining a 12-month scheme aimed at teaching the skills required for a successful career in the retail industry.
When the store officially opens its doors, it will be launching a number of initiatives to help support the local community. Every month, it will donate £1,000 to local charities and groups nominated by customers as part of its Community Matters scheme. Staff will also provide 250 hours of their time each year to causes through the Waitrose Partner Volunteering programme.
James Baldry, opening branch manager for the store, said: “We’ve reached an exciting stage with work due to start to fully refit the store and convert it into a modern new branch. We’ve created over 120 new jobs and have a fantastic team in place ready to welcome our new customers in five weeks’ time.”
During the refurbishment process, the car park will be closed in order to carry out the works.