QUEUES stretched around the new Morrisons store in Eldene yesterday as customers jostled to be the first through the doors.
The company has been working on the £15m superstore since September, and residents were on site from 9am to see it open.
Lyn Marshall, who lives in Eldene and works at the Liden library in Barrington Close, said: “People have been waiting a long time for a superstore on this side. Otherwise there is only the Co-op or we have to go to Sainsbury’s in Stratton.
“I think it will be very popular.”
The store has provided jobs for more than 220 people from the local area, 114 of whom were previously unemployed.
Former Swindon Town player Fraser Digby opened the new 25,000sq ft supermarket with MP for South Swindon, Robert Buckland.
The new Morrisons store is also a Craft Skills Academy, meaning many of its staff are trained in traditional skills including butchery, fishmongery, bakery and flower arranging.
Shoppers can see skilled staff working hard, with bakers kneading dough and butchers making fresh sausages on the counter.
Staff will also advise customers, offer cooking tips, suggest food combinations and wine accompaniments.
Morrisons’ Dorcan Way store in Eldene, was officially opened by regional managing director Rob Marriott, store manager Paul Raine, Mayor of Swindon Nick Martin, Robert Buckland MP, council leader David Renard, former Swindon Town goalkeeper Fraser Digby and Swindon Town star Nathan Thompson, right
Paul Raine, the store’s general manager, who worked at Morrisons in Haydon Wick for a number of years, said: “The opening was fantastic. I was a bit surprised how many people came.
“I think many of the customers will be pleased about the cafe, since customers were always asking for one when I was working in Haydon Wick.”
The store, built on the site of the former Dorcan House, has 250 car parking spaces.
Customers can choose from at least 140 different cuts of meat in the butchery, 80 cheeses from around the world in the deli and up to 48 varieties of fresh baked goods from the bakery.
Coun Derique Montaut (Lab, Liden, Eldene and Park South) said: “It’s a shining example of a wonderful superstore. My only concern is how the Co-op and Morrisons are going to operate being right back to back.”