After almost a year’s work one of the biggest retail developments in Horsham’s history opened today (Thursday June 17).
The new John Lewis at Home and Waitrose store, in Albion Way, has been eagerly anticipated since the news of the store’s arrival was announced in 2013.
Work on the £11 million project, which has created more than 200 jobs, started at the end of August last year and the building has sprung up over the past 11 months creating a huge buzz of excitement in the town.
Nigel Davis, branch manger at John Lewis at Home, said: “There has been a huge amount of planning and hard work to get us to this stage, so I am extremely excited to welcome our first customers through the doors and show them the finished shop.
“I’m very proud of all the Partners involved and look forward to getting to know our customers.”
The new building covers two floors and is only the third in the country to host both companies.
The development has 366 parking spaces and a host of new features unique to the Horsham store.
More than 100 John Lewis staff from across the country have come together over the past fortnight to pull the John Lewis section together including the company’s first ever Home Hub which the Horsham store will be pioneering.
The hub includes 16 new room sets which have been created to give customers ideas on what their homes could look like with specially trained staff on hand to offer advice.
It also contains a central area where shoppers can browse and order products.
A customer service room and a technical support centre, which will test and repair electrical items, have been bought in along with whole host of products.
The store is also the new home for the town’s Waitrose.
The floor size has doubled which has allowed the supermarket to add several new features and offer a wider range of products which got many customers excited on social media.
A 150 seat cafe has been created and there are wine and juice bars as well as a new bakery where customers can try before they buy.
Jo Thomas, manager of Waitrose Horsham, said: “It looks beautiful. I can’t wait to get started.
“It doesn’t look like a supermarket but I suppose it will look like one when we move in.”
Both companies have also not ruled out expanding in the future with space still available at the back of the store.
But as one store opens another will close.
The popular Waitrose store in Piries Place shut yesterday (Wednesday) after 25 years in the town.
Mrs Thomas said:“It is a sad feeling closing those doors. But the new store looks nice and everyone should come over and see the new world.”
Related stories: Tears and champagne as Waitrose closes in Horsham
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