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Waitrose gearing up for opening in Leek

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: April 06, 2014

By Belinda Hargreaves

  • The Co-operative supermarket in Leek is being turned into a Waitrose store.

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A supermarket in Leek has closed its doors to customers for the final time.

Saturday, March 29, was the last day of trading for the Co-operative Food store off Buxton Road.

Waitrose will be handed the keys to the site tomorrow, Thursday, April 3, and will be carrying out a four week refurbishment to turn the site into a Waitrose branch.

Waitrose agreed to acquire the store in November last year, and is set to open its doors on Thursday, May 1.

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The supermarket is set to provide customers with the full Waitrose offer, including a delivery service.

A spokesman said: "The new store will be run by a team of around 115 partners, including the existing Co-op employees and approximately 50 new members of staff.

"Partners are each entitled to a say in how the business is run, as well as a share of the profits in the form of a yearly bonus, which this year equated to eight weeks wages."

While the store is being converted, Leek Post Office, which is situated within the building, will also be fully refurbished.

During its temporary closure, Waitrose will be funding a taxi service to take post office customers to Westwood Post Office across town, and then back to the branch.

The collection point will be in the Buxton Road car park, across the road from the store. A taxi will be available from 8.45am until 5.30pm on a Monday and Tuesday, and from 9am until 5.30pm from Wednesday to Friday.

The spokesman added: "When the branch officially opens its doors, it will be launching a number of initiatives to help support the local community.

"Every month, it will donate £1,000 to local charities and groups nominated by customers as part of its Community Matters scheme.

"Staff will also provide 250 hours of their time each year to causes through the Waitrose Partner Volunteering programme."

Becky Wollam, opening branch manager for Waitrose Leek said: "We have reached an exciting stage with work due to start to fully refit the store and convert it into a modern new branch.

"We have created around 50 new jobs and have a fantastic team in place ready to welcome our new customers in just over four weeks time."

Waitrose has said that it will be necessary to close the car park on the site to carry out the refurbishment works.

The Post & Times reported last week that a long-standing Sunday car boot sale held on the Co-operative store's car park for the last 12 years is moving to Leek's new Sainsbury's store off Macclesfield Road.

Waitrose had previously said there would not be enough capacity at its car park for the events to continue.

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