Waitrose first opened on West Street in Marlow at 9am on Tuesday 1 August 1972. Forty-seven years later, Sunday 27 October 2019 at 4pm, it shut up shop for the very last time.
MyMarlow was there to record the closure, take photos and talk to staff. Two of the MyMarlow team used to work as Waitrose “weekenders” when at school many years ago, so it was a meaningful event for us from that perspective too.
Presentation to LOVE Marlow
Earlier in the day a presentation took place, with the handing over of a donation to LOVE Marlow. Waitrose had in particular supported the popular Kids Cycle Ride that has featured each year. Local staff provided a nucleus of volunteers as marshals, and a refreshments stall was run by the shop each year. Liam Pendry, Regional Marketing Manager for Waitrose, has headed up the Waitrose marshalling team ever since the Cycle Rides began, and was in attendance.
Liam told MyMarlow: “We’re definitely going out on a high – the response from Marlow people has been really heartfelt”.
Chief Marshal of the cycle ride, Malcolm McDonald, thanked Liam and the Waitrose team for their help over the years. Malcolm told us: “We couldn’t have done the Kids Cycle Rides without Waitrose Marlow raising funds, SAS hosting or the Rotary team marshalling – huge thanks to all”.
A final farewell at 4pm
Just before closing time some of the loyal customers, who have become friends with the staff, were invited for a drink to toast the shop and for staff to have a chance to say goodbye.
Our photos include Hazel and Alfred, who have visited the shop every day. The staff know exactly what they want, and have always had it ready for them. Hazel was understandably quite tearful on leaving, being the last person to push a trolley out.
Also invited were regulars Gary and Beth Duckmanton-Hibbs, who had been the very FIRST customers when the current branch opened. The couple were presented with a bottle of fizz and some flowers before being the last customers to walk out.
We spoke to the store manager Mark Slater, who told us that some of the current staff had been with Waitrose for up to 43 years. Mark told us “I’m incredibly proud of every Partner. Since the announcement in July they’ve worked really hard, maintained the store, and kept up the amazing customer service they’ve always been famous for”.
Mark also added “We’d like to thank all the customers who have supported Waitrose in Marlow all these years. We are so lucky to have had such wonderful, loyal customers who as you can see are seen as friends by our partners“
Partners from Marlow have relocated to other Waitrose stores including Maidenhead, High Wycombe, Twyford and West Ealing. It was moving seeing staff saying their farewells to each other and the shop.
Keeping in touch
If you or anyone you know has ever worked at Waitrose Marlow, at either of the sites, please come and join our Waitrose Marlow Alumni group – we invite you to share your memories, stories and photos. The group was set up a few months ago, and already has over 250 members!