Hundreds of people flocked to Bourne for the opening of the town’s new Marks and Spencer store.
Eager shoppers lined the street around the Burghley Shopping Centre ahead of Wednesday’s first day of trade, with swarms flooding the 7000 square foot store immediately after the ribbon was cut.
Store manager Isabel Meyer, said: “This is fantastic news for Bourne and the community. We have taken on more than 50 staff, and this has to be good news for the town.
“I’m extremely proud of the work my team has put in to prepare the store for the opening – it looks fantastic. Seeing the store filled with customers is really rewarding and we’re thrilled to see so many customers here.
“Over the coming months we’re looking forward to getting to know the local community better and helping to make every moment special when they visit us”
The opening has resulted in 50 jobs, with many of those present for the opening.
Customer assistant Tina Lambe said: “I live in Bourne and love being involved with people. This store gives the people of Bourne a lot of choices. Many of the people I have spoken to are really excited by the opening – it means they no longer have to go to Peterborough, Grantham, Stamford or Spalding for their shopping.”
Sales assistant Hannah Collings agreed. She said: “The sheer size of the number of people here on our first day of trading shows just how popular this is going to be. I’m really excited to be a part of this.”
The shop was declared open by Willoughby School pupil Scott Wilkinson. The special school has been chosen as the store’s first charity of the year.
The opening marks a resurgence in the town’s fortunes with many hoping it will act as a catalyst to more chains moving into the town.
Bourne mayor Paul Fellows said: “Marks and Spencer opening here is just phenomenal for the town. It is just what the town needs, and the people of the town have been waiting for and it will be very well used by the people of Bourne and the surrounding area.
“This, together with the project for the town hall, will reinvigorate this part of the town centre, and will hopefully encourage other chains to move to the town.”
The store, which will be open from 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays, is located on the site of the former Co-operative shop, and has been converted into two units – Marks and Spencer occupies one, with the other still to be filled.
John and Hazel Pressley, of Stanton Close, Bourne, said: “We’ve been waiting for this to happen. It’s great to see the store in the town, and this will change the lives of many people.
“It’s a big improvement on what was here before,and it’s great to see this part of the town coming back to life. It will bring many people to the town and will be good for the economy.”
Barbara Windsor, of Swinstead, said: “This is great news and the best thing to happen to the town ever. There’s a real buzz about the store and we’ll be visiting every day. Hopefully this will be the start of bigger things for Bourne and a few other chains will follow.”
Brenda Welby, of Castle Bytham, said: “It really is a good day for the town, and will make a huge difference in so many ways. The free parking is a huge advantage.”