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Sneak peek inside Iceland’s The Food Warehouse in former Argos unit on Ashford Retail Park

Kent’s newest huge Food Warehouse is set to welcome its first customers tomorrow.

The Food Warehouse, owned by Iceland, will open in Ashford Retail Park 8am in the former Argo store, which closed in 2022.

The building has seen a massive transformation, with all traces of the catalogue company removed, and stacks of treats and essentials on display. KentOnline was invited along for a sneak peek, along with discount card holders, who arrived after we left.

Creating 30 jobs, the shop will be the sixth of its kind in the county. Its stores are larger than the discounter’s core outlets and stock a wider range of frozen goods.

Featuring a mezzanine floor and seven aisles of products, The Food Warehouse will open from 8am- 9pm Monday to Saturday while on Sundays, it will open between 10am- 4pm.

Currently, there is an Iceland store in Ashford High Street and a freezer section inside The Range, in Fougeres Way.

But while some customers may think it is just a larger version of their high street Iceland, they would be wrong as the site has many bulk items which you would not find in a regular site.

The huge shop offers seven aisles of products
The huge shop offers seven aisles of products
The site specialises in bulk buying
The site specialises in bulk buying

These include a pressure washer, a hot tub as well as a 4.75 kg block of cheese for £27.

The shop is easy to navigate as you snake between aisles, and it’s easy to see shoppers flocking for deals such as 3 frozen food items for £10.

Speaking ahead of the official opening, area manager David Wilson says this store will offer much bigger value packs and better deals than their high street sites.

“Our high street stores are serving our customer base which is topping up their shop or are just popping in but these commercial sites are drive-to destinations where people are doing bulk purchasing,” he said.

“We’d been looking for a site in Ashford for some time and this one landed on our lap. This is a town that we always wanted to have a Food Warehouse in, especially as Ashford has massively grown in every direction.

The huge space has been transformed
The huge space has been transformed

“We felt there was an opportunity to maintain our high street store and grow the business with this out-of-town proposition as well.”

When residents found out the site would be opening, there were concerns that the high street branch would shut.

However, Mr Wilson confirmed it is an important part of the business and will remain open.

“We currently are getting on for 1,000 shops and the majority of those are high street shops which are a really important part of the business,” he said.

“If stores are taking money and customers are visiting those stores then we will keep them open.

The Food Warehouse takes the spot of the former Argos store
The Food Warehouse takes the spot of the former Argos store
Area manager David Wilson
Area manager David Wilson

“Ashford High Street has a very different purpose to the one we’re opening now and potentially serves a different need for those customers as well.”

When the news first broke of Iceland's opening in the former Argos site, customers at the retail park raised concerns over heavier traffic making it more difficult to park.

But Mr Wilson says if this proves problematic, they will assess the situation so that customers do not have trouble parking.

“I’ve visited this site on numerous occasions since we got planning permission and I’ve never not been able to park so I do think there is parking available,” he said.

“I’ve heard it is a very busy site and the concerns but I haven’t seen the reality of what that will look like yet.

“It’s in my interest to make sure that everyone who wants to come and shop in this store can find a parking space so I will work with whoever I need to work with to try and make that happen.”

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