IF shoppers support Waitrose at its new store in Wichelstowe, Swindon can expect more job opportunities to add to the 230 staff already hired at the branch, the manager has said.

The supermarket opens at 8am this morning after a 20-year wait for the right location to set up in Swindon, according to branch manager Ian Smith.

Until today the nearest Waitrose was the store in High Street, Marlborough, but Ian says if customers provide enough interest there is room to expand.

“We have plenty of room for expansion. There is space to take on more than we have at the moment,” he said.

“We are more than capable of keeping up with any increases in demand, especially those which are likely with the growth of the Wichelstowe development.

“It is likely, if we do more than we are expecting to, we would go straight back to market to advertise more roles.

“We currently have an average amount of people at the store, but as and when we need more partners, we will be recruiting on our website.”

Ninety-five per cent of the 230 people taken on from day one at the store are from Swindon.

Ian has worked for Waitrose for the past 13 years, the last three as a branch manager at Headington near Oxford and, more recently, in Marlborough.

He said location was the key behind the store’s decision to finally set up shop in a town it has had its eye on for the best part of a quarter of a century.

“The challenge here will be building brand awareness in Swindon after 20 years of trying to set up a store here,” he said.

“This is a great site as part of the Wichelstowe development.

“We are excited to finally be here and give many people the chance to finally shop at a Waitrose in the town.

“Finding the right location has been the reason for the wait.

“This location provides great transport networks between Junctions 15 and 16 of the M4 and we will also be a part of the growing community being created in Wichelstowe.”

He said the outlet would become one of the firm’s core branches, where a fresh juice bar, a grazing area for snacking and wine tasting area will make it unique in having all three under the same roof.

There are 250 free car parking spaces at the store, which will be open from 7am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, and 10am until 4pm on Sundays.