Waitrose Witney

Photo:Witney exterior 1969

Witney exterior 1969

John Lewis Partnership archive collection

Photo:Witney wine department c1970

Witney wine department c1970

John Lewis Partnership archive collection

Photo:Witney opening 1986

Witney opening 1986

The Gazette

Branch 131 to 142

By Linda Moroney

Waitrose Witney opened as branch 131 at 9.00am on Wednesday 15th October 1969 (New Waitrose branches traditionally opened on a Tuesday, but in Witney that was early closing day). The Branch Manager was Mr J E Patterson who had joined a few months earlier from another supermarket group. As with all Waitrose openings at the time, Witney began trading without fuss, ceremony, special offers, free samples or gimmicks. The aim was to begin as they meant to go on, relying on good basic shopkeeping to attract custom.

The shop was large, with 8,900 square feet of selling space, deeper than it was wide, with a private car park at the rear for a hundred vehicles. It was staffed by eighty-two Partners - all of whom but six were recruited locally.

On opening day pepper sold extremely well, and, reported Mr S Carter, immediately after opening time the gangway by the pepper shelf was blocked by customers trying to get at it. By ten minutes past nine, Waitrose were amazed to find they had been cleared out of pepper entirely. It was learned later that there had been a shortage of pepper in Witney and shoppers took advantage of a brand new source of supply.

Branch 131 ceased trading just three days before it became branch 142 on 16th September 1986, when it moved to new premises. Almost double the size of the old, the new branch combined some engaging architectural features with a clean and uncluttered floor plan ideally suited to efficient, modern supermarketing.

The branch manager was Mr C J Adey, with Mr S R Hopkins as his deputy, with 270 staff, full and part time, most of whom had transferred from 131. For Mr Adey, 13th September had a particular signifance because on 13th September 1976 he was appointed manager of Witney - ten years to the day before 131's closure date.

 

This page was added by Linda Moroney on 13/01/2013.
Comments about this page

I was 9 years old, standing outside Witney's Waitrose in the early 1970's with the family dog waiting for my mother to finish shopping, the automatic exit opened and closed; within that time the Yorkshire terrier had rushed forward and we ended up separated, me on the outside still holding onto the lead!

By Mary Sturges
On 28/02/2017

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