Published: 08:11, 26 September 2019
| Updated: 15:03, 26 September 2019
A new multi-million pound Aldi store opened in Hythe today.
Around 100 eager customers queued outside the new supermarket, on the out-of-town Kengate Industrial Estate, in anticipation of its 8am open.
Olympian rower James Foad, who competed in the 2012 London games winning a bronze medal, was there to cut the ribbon accompanied by Hythe primary school children.
The athlete had travelled from Southampton last night for the opening.
He helped welcome customers through the door with store manager Calum Morrison and area manager Eve Grant.
Yvonne Miller, 79, from Sandgate, was awarded with champagne and flowers by staff for being the first customer of the day.
Ms Miller had arrived at 6am with a paper and camping chair and had a two hour wait until the store opened.
She said: “I came for the fun of it and wasn’t expecting flowers and champagne. I just came to see what it was like and the gifts were a nice surprise.
“I’m usually a Waitrose girl but wanted to come check out the competition.
“It’s well laid out with wide aisles and well lit.”
The next 30 shoppers were awarded with a complimentary bag of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Janice Smith, 78, travelled to the store from Greatstone, on Romney Marsh, with friends.
She said: "We like to come early and beat the crowds, but not today; it's very busy.
"It looks nice, the aisles are very wide."
Team GB star James Foad said: "It’s been an honour to be a part of Aldi’s store opening.
"I’ve had a great time talking to both the adults and children of Hythe about healthy eating and my experience of the Olympics."
German brand Aldi decided to relocate from its smaller high street store to provide a larger range of stock and boost profits.
This store closed last night after 19 years.
Products on offer at the new 1,254 sq m shop include fruit, vegetables, chilled and frozen food, a ‘Food to Go’ section, beers, wines, spirits, special buys and health and beauty products.
It will employ 32 staff and provide 75 free parking spaces.
But work on the multi-million pound project has been delayed several times.
The demolition of former industrial units at the site, previously home to a laundry, garages and other small businesses, was delayed after harmful substances were found, pushing the project back.
The new store’s opening times will be 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.
Store manager Calum Morrison said: "It’s been a fantastic morning here at our grand opening.
"It was lovely to meet our new customers and I look forward to meeting more of the community in the coming weeks. I’d also like to say a big thank you to the wonderful, James Foad, for being a part of our celebrations."
Charities and food banks in the Hythe area are invited to register with Neighbourly, a community engagement platform that links businesses to charitable organisations in their community.
Those involved will receive regular donations of surplus food from the supermarket.
Anyone interested should email email@example.com.
More by this authorSam Williams