Newtown's newest supermarket opens

READY TO GO: Pharmacist Jeremy Armes at the opening of Countdown Newtown.
READY TO GO: Pharmacist Jeremy Armes at the opening of Countdown Newtown.

Picking up a morning loaf of bread was meant to be no big deal for Newtown retiree Anna Johnson, who was the first customer at Wellington’s newest supermarket.

The $26 million Countdown on Adelaide Rd officially opened this morning, with speeches, politicians, representatives from the Salvation Army and Children’s Hospital.

The first customers arrived in-store at 9am. 

Anna Johnson was awarded a celebratory hamper of cereal for being the first customer through the checkout. 

She said she normally did her shopping at Kilbirnie Pak’nSave but would shop at Countdown from now on as it was more convenient.

"I just wanted a quick loaf of bread. I didn't expect all this."

Other customers said they would be shopping at the supermarket on a regular basis as the location was convenient for them.

The store is the first Countdown in the country to feature an in-store pharmacy offering prescription and pharmacy-only medicine as well as health advice. 

Pharmacy business manager Jeremy Armes, who has worked in Britain, said the system was the norm over there.

"It’s convenient and it’s easier access for customers...and affordable prices as well."

Around 6000 people a day are expected at the supermarket which will employ 160 staff.

Until now Progressive's Countdown stores in Crofton Downs and Kilbirnie were the closest to the city centre. Within the next few months it will also be opening large new stores in Tawa and Petone.

Rival supermarket giant Foodstuffs has opened a redeveloped former Woolworths in Tawa and opened a New World in Newlands. Replacement stores are to open in Silverstream and Whitby next year, and a Kapiti New World is also scheduled to be completed by the end of next year.

The Dominion Post