First new store opens its doors
Dominic Bareham CUSTOMERS have given the thumbs-up to a new supermarket, the first major store to open as part of the £16m refurbishment and extension of Market Gates in Great Yarmouth.
CUSTOMERS have given the thumbs-up to a new supermarket, the first major store to open as part of the £16m refurbishment and extension of Market Gates in Great Yarmouth.
The 7,400sq ft (687sq m) Iceland store opened on Monday next to the bus station and reported brisk trading just over a week after the closure of the chain's old store on the second floor of the centre.
Deborah Aindow, 47, was among the first customers to take advantage of the new facility on the first day and said it was convenient for her because it was close to her workplace at Ladbrokes and described the premises as having a “nice, bright” feel which made for a pleasant shopping experience.
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She said: “It is much better than the previous store because it is bigger and there is more room for customers to move around. It is just more pleasant really.”
Samantha Hewitt, 17, said the store was convenient for her to get “a few bits,” and said: “It seems similar to the old store, but it is much bigger. I would go to Iceland all the time because it is useful for me to get a few bits.”
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Couple Margaret and Roger Knowles, who live in Southtown, also praised the new store for providing shoppers with more space and a greater variety of product ranges, but said the one facility the premises lacked was a restaurant.
Mrs Knowles said the location was easy to reach and encouraged more passing trade from visitors travelling in by bus.
“It is nice and clean. You can look at the product you are buying. It is a good shop that provides a good service so we would definitely come again,” she said.
Store manager Steve McKechnie said Iceland decided to move premises because the new shop provided greater visibility to holidaymakers and other passing visitors because it was close to the bus station.
On Monday, he said: “The customer reaction has been superb and it has been a very successful day. The feedback has been very positive.”
Last week, centre manager Nick Spencer told the Mercury he was excited about the opening.
He said: “The opening of Iceland is a great milestone in the development programme and we're happy that the works are helping to regenerate the town by bringing great names, such as Debenhams to Great Yarmouth.”
Debenhams is to take a store the size of nearly four tennis courts for its new department store under its Desire Plus format and New Look, already popular in the town, is expanding to over one and a half times its size.
The four-storey, 70,000 sq ft extension will create three large stores for Debenhams, New Look, Iceland and eight smaller units, including Starbucks, which is the latest name to sign up and has just received planning consent for a 1,325 sq ft (123 m²) new coffee house. Works are on schedule and all retailers are expected to be trading by Christmas 2008.