A SPAR convenience store has breathed new life into the site of a former Bishop Auckland pub after it opened its doors to the public.
Located in Brooklands, the SPAR store, built at a cost of £3 million, has transformed the old The Aclet pub site in the town.
The Mayor of Bishop Auckland Cllr Michael Siddle cut the ribbon to officially open the store as local residents eagerly queued up to be some of the first to enjoy the new SPAR’s shopping experience.
The SPAR store features a Clayton Park Deli, serving a range of hot foods and freshly made-to-order Food To Go from both the hot and cold counters, while adjacent to the Deli, there are a range of self-serve Graham Eyes meats to satisfy those customers seeking quality at great value prices.
A variety of refreshment options are available too with a Cheeky Coffee unit and popular F’Real Milkshakes and Smoothies and Tango Ice Blast machines.
Sitting alongside these main store features are a comprehensive range of fresh foods, major branded products, and a wide range of beers, wines and spirits.
The interior store décor features photographs of a range of local Bishop Auckland landmarks, and a nod to the site’s past, the lion emblems that were previously set into the old pub walls have been retained as original features during reconstruction work.
A Father Christmas ‘meet and greet’ event complemented the store opening to help the community get into the seasonal spirit, and a Family Fun Day will be held in the Spring to help celebrate the opening.
Fiona Drummond, Company Stores Director at James Hall & Co. Ltd, said: “We had a fantastic opening in Bishop Auckland. The community has been ready to welcome our SPAR store for quite some time, so we are thrilled to finally open our doors.
“Our product range is tailored to the needs of residents in the locality, and it’s a lovely touch to have retained some of the original charm of the former pub in the brickwork of the new SPAR store.”
The Mayor of Bishop Auckland, Cllr Michael Siddle, said: “It was a pleasure to be invited along to open the new SPAR store at Brooklands. It is wonderful to see new businesses choosing to open in our town, providing employment, and repurposing buildings.
“I am very impressed with the store and the range inside the SPAR. It is in a great location for residents too, and I am sure it will become a real asset to the community.”
Margaret Walton, from nearby Chilton, was one of the first 50 customers through the doors of the SPAR while visiting her granddaughter.
She said: “I thought it would be expensive and good for convenience items like your milk and bread but I’m going home with three full bags – you could do your full shop here.
“The store is amazing, and it’s been like Christmas Day. You can get your Sunday lunch for £6, and it isn’t worth turning your gas and electric on at home when you can get one for that price.
“I’ve also bought some pies from the Deli and the three for £11 deal on sausages is wonderful. I had a taste of the range, and they are beautiful.”
Tyler Elleanor, from Bishop Auckland, was another customer to visit the SPAR store on launch day.
He said: “As soon as you walk through the door you can see the quality on offer, and I really like the vibe of the shopping environment.
“The staff are lovely, and I’m really surprised at the size of the store. It is much bigger than you expect.
“I’m going to come back with my mum and sister as I know they will love the Deli. I know it is nearly Christmas but I’m soon going to look like a pig in a blanket with all the great food you can buy.”
Ahead of the launch, SPAR has become a corporate sponsor of the Angel Trust and has sponsored Bishop Auckland Football Club with two pitch side boards, demonstrating its support to local causes in line with SPAR’s brand pillars.
A donation to Woodhouse Close Church Community Centre will also be made in due course to support the great work they do in the local area, coupled with an ongoing arrangement between the SPAR and the centre to donate surplus stock.
SPAR Bishop Auckland is owned and serviced by James Hall & Co. Ltd, SPAR UK’s primary wholesaler and distributor for Northern England, and is open from 7am until 10.30pm seven days a week.
Free Cheeky Coffee cards will be available to customers during the first two weeks of opening. Coffee will be provided free of charge for emergency service workers for the first six months of opening, and there is 10% off for NHS staff with valid ID over the same period.
James Hall & Co. Ltd serves a network of independent SPAR retailers and company-owned SPAR stores across Northern England six days a week from its base at Bowland View in Preston.Source: James Hall and Co.