Shoppers poured into the new Sainsbury’s store in Bognor Regis yesterday.
Some 200 customers queued around the store’s frontage before it was opened at 9am on Wednesday, November 21.
They took some eight minutes to file through the doors with their trolleys and baskets.
Ahead of all of them was Linda Earl, 61, of Bognor. She arrived at 7.10am in the rain to proudly claim her place at the front.
She intended to fill her trolley with a range of goods.
“I just like to be the first in the queue. It’s good Sainsbury’s is open in Bognor,” she said.
“But there should be one in the town centre as well for people who don’t have cars.”
Just behind her at 8.05am was Aldwick Felds resident Angie Mitchell, 63. She said: “I wanted to experience the opening of the store because it’s a big thing for the town.
“I’m quite excited about it and I’m looking forward to buying everything here - groceries, clothing, electrical items.
“I’ve been going to the store at Chichester every week for about 15 years. It will be nice to come here and not clog up the roads.”
Joint third in the queue were North Bersted neighbours Margaret Booker, 63, and Joan Shepherd, 73.
They originally arrived at 6.30am because they thought the store’s usual opening time of 7am applied. But they went away for a cup of tea before going back just after 8am.
Joan said: “I was one of the last shoppers to leave the old Sainsbury’s store in Bognor. We have been waiting for this.”
Margaret added: “We love Sainsbury’s. We go to the store at Chichester most weeks. It will be nice to come here instead.”
Harry Clark declared the new Sainsbury’s open more than 22 years after he shut the old store in Bognor Regis town centre.
Mr Clark, 82, of Chichester, was the last manager of the outlet in Queensway - now the Hatters Inn - when it closed in April 1990.
He said: “It’s brilliant to welcome Sainsbury’s back to the town. It will make a great deal of difference to the town.
“It will bring people in from a wider area instead of going to Chichester.
“I worked for eight years at the old store. Everyone was sad when it closed.
“I’ve seen quite a few former staff members here.”
Among them is the new store’s manager, Tim Maginnis.
“I took Tim on as a student worker and I’m very proud of what he has done,” said Mr Clark.
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