New Morrisons on Sheppey creates 238 jobs as customers come through the doors for the first time
The first thing to be sold at Sheppey’s new Morrisons supermarket was a £1.90 pot of jellied eels.
Dozens of people queued up outside the store at Neats Court as the long wait finally came to an end on Monday morning.
Manager Steve Lennox gave a speech to his staff before eager shoppers were greeted by an opening party made up of the Mayor of Queenborough Cllr Sue Simpson, regional director Mike Zamiteas and bakery and butchery apprentices Drew Lewis and Scott Mayes.
Customer Karen Dean was impressed with the fresh fruit
A countdown was then done over the loud speaker system ahead of the two apprentices, 38-year-old Mr Mayes from Sheerness and 18-year-old Mr Lewis from Sittingbourne, cutting the ribbon.
It was then business as usual for staff, who have been working behind the scenes for weeks to get everything ready.
Many of the 238 jobs the store has created were done so through working in partnership with Sheerness JobCentre Plus and Canterbury College Swale Campus to offer pre-employment training.
Drew Lewis is working on a seven-month apprenticeship
Of those recruited, 46 were previously long-term unemployed.
Mr Lennox said it was a fantastic day and everything went extremely well, with no dramas or glitches.
“It was really busy and very successful,” he said.
“We got overwhelmingly positive feedback.”
He also thanked all the staff who he said have ‘worked their socks off’ over the last few weeks.
Meanwhile, the neighbouring KFC and the petrol station at Neats Court have been busy since they opened.
According to developer LXB Retail Properties, things are moving forward with the rest of the £30m transformation of the Queenborough site.
The opening of the long-awaited Morrisons store for Sheppey
It is hoped work will start on phase two later this month.
Brewer Marston’s has been confirmed as the tenant for the family pub and home furnishings chain B&M Stores is definitely on board.
Discussions are ongoing with Poundland and ‘several other national occupiers’.
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