THE manager of the new Marks and Spencer supermarket in Llandudno, Katie Whelan, expressed her delight as the hard work put in to set up the store resulted in a fun opening day today (March 16).
Having previously been located in the town of Mostyn Street for over 80 years, M&S today completed its move to the Parc Llandudno shopping park, moving into a store it says is the first of its kind in Wales.
With features such as a market-style ‘Foodhall’, 4-foot cheese barge, ‘pick your own eggs’ section, ‘Scan and Shop’ and a 119-seat digital cafe upstairs, there is had plenty for customers, many of whom lined up long before it opened at 10am, to get excited.
Katie is joined by the 114 employees who transferred from the previous store, as well as 46 new faces.
Music and song at the opening of the new M&S in Llandudno
The Maelgwn Choir sing at the opening of Llandudno M&S and make a Ukrainian gesture
What to expect from the new ‘all singing, all dancing’ Llandudno M&S
Returning to Llandudno after also serving as manager of the former Mostyn Street supermarket, she hailed a “really exciting” opening day.
She said: “We had a lot of interest and excitement from customers ahead of the opening; we expected to be busy for the opening and we had big crowds which was really exciting.
“I was store manager in Llandudno 10 years ago, and I’m really excited to be back, to be here for the opening of this amazing new store.
“There are so many new concepts; the digital cafe, where you don’t have to queue and sit down and order, is amazing. There’s a lovely new menu and views over the Welsh hills, so the cafe particularly excites me.
“We have the Cheese Barge, Children’s Carts, Scan and Shop and a wider range than the old store, so there are a lot of things we are really excited about.”
Katie also kindly gave the Pioneer a tour of the new Foodhall, which you can watch below:
North Wales’ longest-serving M&S worker, Karen Jones, who has been with the business for 51 years, cut the ribbon at 10 a.m. to declare the store ‘agor’, while other Opening day guests included the Mayor of Llandudno, Cllr Harry Saville, and the town’s ‘Miss Alice’.
Introduced by town crier Billy Baxter and conducted by Percy Pig (wearing a Welsh bow tie), the Maelgwn Male Voice Choir kicked off the celebrations from 9.45am.
And to keep the fun going, the Ysgol San Sior choir, harpist Ysgol Creuddyn Ffion and DJ Jonny B also perform later in the day.
But for Katie, her personal highlights were, “Seeing the customers and seeing the team before we open, and thanking them for the amazing job they’ve done to get us to this point.
“It took a lot of effort to get here and the whole team worked very hard, so seeing them before the opening was the highlight.
“There are a lot more colleagues than in the previous store, which is also good.”
With free parking, longer opening hours than before, a larger “Clothing & Home” section and its vibrant new Foodhall, the store aims to accommodate all kinds of customers.
“Scan and Shop”, meanwhile, is a digital and more convenient way to shop in-store with a handheld scanner, using the M&S Sparks app.
Colleagues and customers helped with the final design of the Welsh accent wall, which illuminates the store behind the tills with traditional Welsh images and phrases.
Many Welsh suppliers, who have helped build M&S Wales, also joined the team today for its celebrations.
Family business Popty, which supplies M&S with its traditional Welsh Bara Brith, offered samples to customers today, alongside fellow suppliers Castle Dairies, Snowdonia Cheese and Llaeth y Llan.
Mariam Williams, co-owner of Popty with her husband Gywn, said: ‘We are very proud to provide our family recipe of Bara Brith to M&S Wales and to be here today at the opening of the beautiful new store to share samples. spread with the delicious Castle Dairies Butter, with our Welsh M&S customers.
“We know we were originally welcomed as suppliers after Welsh colleagues and customers rallied and demanded stock from M&S Bara Brith in Wales – so we thank them forever for our wonderful partnership.”
The store will be located at Llandudno Park, Conway Rd, LL30 1PX, and will be open Monday to Saturday from 8am to 8pm and 11am to 5pm on Sunday (sailing time from 10.30am).