A queue of Willington residents formed at the door on the opening day as the red carpet was rolled out, the ribbon was cut, and camera flashguns flared to mark the occasion.
The Mayor of Greater Willington Town Council Cllr Ken Henfrey, joined Deputy Mayor Cllr Angela Smith and County Cllr Olwyn Gunn to open the store with Dominic Hall, Deputy Managing Director, and Fiona Drummond, Company Stores Director, both of James Hall & Co. Ltd.
A family fun day attended by an estimated 250 people was also held as part of the opening weekend. It featured balloon modelling, face painting, a raffle, and goody bags for children and adults. Funds raised at the event will go to SPAR UK charity partner Marie Curie.
Highlight instore features include a butcher’s counter, deli, a hot beverages unit, a range of fresh and frozen foods, food to go, major branded products, beers, wines and spirits.
The forecourt features six pumps, water, air and vacuum machines, an ATM, and customer parking.
Doreen Taylor, 62, from Willington, was one resident visiting on launch day. She said: “I had a good look around and I’m hugely impressed with the store. It’s much bigger than I thought it would be, the range is excellent, and it has wide aisles which are great.”
“My daughter Ann is employed at the SPAR as well and has been counting down the days to the opening weekend.”
Ahead of the launch, James Hall & Co. Ltd, SPAR UK’s primary wholesaler and distributor for the North of England, has put community centre stage with sponsorship and contributions to local charities and sports initiatives.
These include support for Willington Association Football Club and a donation to the Durham Foodbank, which supports those in need in Willington.
County Cllr Olwyn Gunn, who represents Willington and Hunwick ward on Durham County Council, said: “Willington has been waiting for this for a long time. I’m delighted to see the SPAR store and Shell forecourt bring back to life the derelict garage that was previously here.
“There has been significant investment into the site, and a key aspect is the job creation for local people. It is a great asset for Willington and the surrounding area, and I’m certain it will have local support and that of passing trade.”
The Mayor of Greater Willington Town Council, Cllr Ken Henfrey, said: “It’s an excellent store, and it raises the quality of the area. We’ve had the ambition to improve this gateway into Willington for some time. The SPAR store and Shell forecourt are a fantastic entrance feature.
“I know SPAR has been working to support local organisations in the run-up to the store opening. I hope this can be the beginning of a strong working relationship between retailer and community.”
“We had a tremendous opening weekend in Willington and already feel like part of the village”, said Fiona Drummond, Company Stores Director at James Hall & Co. Ltd. “Our offer in-store and on the forecourt is absolutely fantastic in terms of range and value, and the warm reception this has had by the Willington residents reflects this.”
Source: SPAR UK
The UK became a SPAR member in 1956 when SPAR International granted the SPAR licence to a group of independent wholesalers. As a result, there are now five regional partners in the UK. A central office in London provides national marketing and buying services for the group.
SPAR has led the highly competitive convenience market in the UK for many years. Always innovative, the five regional partners continue to grow the brand. SPAR UK comprises independently owned licensed retailers and company-owned stores. These include forecourts, airports, train stations, city centres, and local neighbourhood stores.