Waitrose has moved… it’s still great!

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After 38 years being on West Street, Waitrose has relocated. Loyal customers have not been looking forward to this day, but luckily the new store in Chapel Street offers a new and exciting opportunity for both customers and the town itself.

The new store is based in the rarely visited east end of town, will hopefully bring the less visited shops more footfall and increase sales of empty premises. Annie Mulady, President of Marlow Chamber of Trade & Commerce and Mulady Solutions Ltd owner, comments “I am delighted that Waitrose are staying in the town, albeit in a smaller store. From a business perspective I am pleased that the staff at Waitrose have retained their jobs. I envisage the new Waitrose store will be good for the businesses on the east side of town, with the increase in footfall in Spittal Street supporting independent and chain stores in that area – it is certainly good news for Marlow.”

MyMarlow was lucky enough to get an invite to the pre-opening and to get a sneaky peak around the new store.

Although thereis no longer a deli, which is a shame, there are a few new aspects which will help customers to forget the changes.

The addition of a cafe on the first floor is a brilliant bonus for the shop, accessible and overlooking the shop floor the cafe is spacious and comfortable with both sofas and dining tables. The menu will consist of a made-to-order menu which is made from the same ingredients that can be bought in the store (customers can also pick up mini recipe cards so they can re-create their favourite dish at home).
There is also a community room, available via booking, and a ‘Food for Now’ section, which is perfect for the customer on the go – full of snacks, sandwiches, salads and drinks, plus a range of cookery books, writing stationery and greetings cards.
But the real bonus of this store is the personal touch – being in a different setting with a new style Waitrose is trying hard to ensure customers will remain loyal and return time and time again.

Although there is noticeably less space, the team have utilised it well and have introduced more local produce, on some areas taking over ¼ of shelf space over non-local brands.

Oliver O’Mara, local and regional product manager, said “we are committed to our local lines and are always keen to support local businesses.” The range of produce includes wines from Twyford, Honey from Oxfordshire, Beers from Marlow and Chiltern Valley Ice cream.

O’Mara went on to say, “out of our Ale range, ¼ of the products are locally produced, we always keep a relationship with the producers and endeavour to bring in their new products when available.”

Behind the scenes Waitrose is committed to helping more local brands break into their stores even though space is premium. O’Mara recommends any company to contact the National Food Group to get help and advice on how to break into the marketplace. Of course, Waitrose head office is also more than happy to offer advice and in fact does help many brands with their marketing.

Darren Kirkham, manager, will be taking over the running of the new store and will take ownership of the local replenishment including wine and beer.

When you walk into the store you may notice the absence of wine that is because it is upstairs – along with 2 full-time, qualified, wine specialists. This service stands out from Waitrose previous service offering as it provides a more personal approach. Customers can sit down with Dan Field or Mike Laurence (or one of the assistants) most days of the week, taste wine, discuss party bookings and use their expertise to discover wine. They also offer a 5% party discount, glass hire and a sale and return offering – not bad!

Waitrose have clearly thought a lot about the customer and want to put them first, they encourage discussion with customers and are excited to move the business forward.

Darren Kirkham will officially be opening the store at 8am on 13th January.

Oh, and yes, there are trolleys!

9 thoughts on “Waitrose has moved… it’s still great!”

  1. I visited the new Waitrose today and was extremely disappointed. Pet products were severely limited and also the selection of coffee beans including the Waitrose beans that I normally use. The trolleys were tiny and could only be taken as far as the edge of the property. There is no po ssibilty of doing a weekly shop and and getting it in the tiny trolley and I was informrd it was now only a ‘convenience store.’ I admit that today was very busy but I think a misleading impression would be gained when looking at the shop before it opens. At the tills there is insufficient room between tills nor room for people to pass behind to reach other tills when trolleys are in use. In an attempt to squash everything in, the presence of customers has been ignored. I shall not be shopping there again apart from the occasional item which I have overlooked on my main shop.

  2. Hmm – copy obviously written by a PR agency but somewhat removed from reality! Terribly narrow aisles, dreadful design at the checkout, parking that has to be paid for and trolleys that grind to a halt miles from your car. Nice try but no cigar!

  3. Visited this morning – and it was quite an effort – very busy, and considerable queues at the tills. I imagine the place was full of people visiting to try the place out – many of them finding that they clearly will not be able to do the “weekly big shop” there. The food selection is focussed on fresh items – fruit,veg, fish and meat etc.. and they are clearly aiming at shoppers who are doing smaller top-up shopping, like you might do at the High St Sainsburys. Personally, thats all I used the old Waitrose for (doing a nice cheap online Tescos shop for most things), and this shop is even closer to my house! However – as mentioned in the previous comments, the checkout area needs looking at – its tricky to get past tills in use, especially with a child in a buggy, as I found out…

  4. Also noticed the significant design flaw in the checkout area. It’s impossible to get a pushchair through when people are actually paying for stuff. I spotted at least 2 mums with pushchairs and one bloke in a mobility scooter who were trapped in the centre tills, and had to wait until the people in 5,6,7 and 8 had paid before they could leave!

  5. Visited the new Waitrose today, a most wonderful supermarket. The staff are as friendly, knowledgeable and enthusiastic as before. The shop although compact does provide all the essential items I needed for my regular visit. Five stars!

  6. I can’t believe how awful Waitrose is now – I went when it was first opened. why is there such a huge area given to bread and pastries when what shoppers need are the other convenience foods like tea / corn cakes / a good variety of soups – they not there?? I was told that provisions have been limited, due to space – but there’s lots of space for a french loaf – there’s obviously a good profit in this. I swore that I would never visit there again, but my husband didn’t believe me and thought I was grossly exagerating my frustration, so I took him along, and he said that you would get a better selection at a small local shop like Londis – and he also said he didn’t want to go there again either.
    The tills are horrid – the customers snake their way to a small number of check-outs. If you’ve just have 2 or 3 items in your basket, you can beat the queue and go to the bread counter

  7. You have to remember that Waitrose were forced to move here – i like the store and will continue to shop there! It’s better to have a Waitrose than not – not least of all to save jobs in the lcoal area!

  8. A place for basket shoppers who require little choice or variety. Roll on the new Sainsbury’s store on the old Waitrose site!!

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Article author: MyMarlow Admin

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