Redwoodtown residents celebrate bigger and better Countdown in Marlborough
The supermarket down the road just got a lot flasher for some Blenheim residents.
Redwoodtown residents turned out in force to explore the new Countdown on the corner of Alabama Rd and Weld St on Thursday.
The store is twice the size of the old Countdown Redwoodtown, and boasts a full-size service deli and extended produce department.
Staff from the old Countdown have relocated to join 24 new staff, creating a team of 75.
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* Development on hold
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New features include a postal service so customers can send and receive parcels instore, as well as energy efficient fittings and equipment.
The official opening of the store started with a haka and waiata from Redwoodtown School pupils, and Countdown managing director Dave Chambers said it was one of the best kapa haka performances he had seen.
The Blenheim Salvation Army received a $500 trolley of groceries during the ceremony to boost their food bank.
Redwoodtown customers would be able to donate grocery items for the food bank at a designated trolley instore, as part of the Countdown Food Rescue programme.
Mayor Alistair Sowman said the supermarket was "absolutely fabulous" and reflected a boom in the region's economy.
The supermarket would serve a growing population on the south side of Blenheim, he said.
"A bigger store means more jobs, and Progressive Enterprises [which owns Countdown] have a huge presence here in Blenheim, with three stores. I want to thank you for your vote of confidence," Sowman said.
The ceremony ended with Sowman unveiling a plaque commemorating the occasion, and cutting a ribbon across the doorway.
Redwoodtown resident Denise O'Malley-Grey was first through the doors, and said staff must have worked extremely hard to get the supermarket ready.
"The old one was a country supermarket. It was nice, it was cosy, but this is very nice."
Redwoodtown resident Ann Davis-Honatana waited in the car park for half an hour to be one of the first inside, she said.
She usually shopped at Pak 'n Save, but was impressed with the size and range at the new Countdown.
"It's very lovely. I think it's even bigger than Pak 'n Save. I think I will come here from now on."
The old Countdown building started as a general store in 1947, at a time when there were not many houses on Alabama Rd, Sowman said.
Staff closed the old store for the last time on Wednesday night.
- The Marlborough Express