St Martins supermarket opens tomorrow
St Martins worker glad to 'return home'ANNA TURNER
Clare Schultz will be one of 50 workers "returning home" when the St Martins New World supermarket reopens tomorrow.
The $20 million supermarket is ready to open after workers spent the past year rebuilding.
The former building was demolished after the February 2011 earthquake.
About 50 workers who lost their jobs after the old St Martins New World shut have been re-employed to work in the newly built store. Many have retrained to fill different positions.
Schultz, 20, was working in the seafood department when the quake struck.
"It was horrible,'' she said.
''There were these two big fridges and I just threw myself flat on the bench and clung on while everything moved. The fridges were walking towards me and hot water was splashing everywhere."
Since the quake, Schultz has been overseas working with Camp America and travelling.
She will work as a barista in the supermarket's new cafe.
She said she could not wait to get back to work.
"It's like a big family here and they really look after you,'' she said.
''Everyone is really excited to be back together. It's not the same anywhere else."
Manager Russell McKenzie said it was "fantastic" to be able to offer some of the staff back their jobs.
"A lot of them have had jobs in between and wanted to come back. They were all so excited,'' he said.
''It's great to be able to have them back. It really is like having the old team back together."
The store will be officially opened by Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority chief executive Roger Sutton in a ceremony at 9.30am.
McKenzie was "extremely excited" about the ceremony.
"The last time I gave a speech outside the store was a few days after February 22 and there was dust and liquefaction everywhere. It will be good to be back and now standing in front of what we think is the best supermarket in New Zealand," he said.
Schultz agreed it would be good to put the quake behind them.
"After the quake we spent days cleaning up the mess - broken glass, smelly liquid- and then going home and not even having power for a shower,'' she said.
''Then they told us our hard work was for nothing because the store had to be demolished. It'll be nice to be back and in a huge new store. "
Roadworks were continuing outside the store, but McKenzie hoped customers would be understanding.
"I think all people around Christchurch have become accepting of road works and the positive is that when they're done we'll have a nice new road to go with our nice store. I don't think there will be congestion or delays."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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