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Shoppers were in for a treat when celebrity chef, Simon Woodhouse, cooked up some ‘winter warmers’ for those who battled the elements to make it through the snow to the opening of the new Budgens in Bickley. Collecting products from around the store he created dishes, such as broccoli and stilton soup, for customers and neighbouring retailers. With many roads closed in the area for the opening week, most people were arriving on foot and glad of the opportunity to stock up at the new store. There was also a free bottle of wine for every customer spending over £10 in store on the opening day.

Independent store owners, Sunda and Kirit Patel, have over 20 years experience in retailing, most recently buying two other Budgens stores in Parsons Green (six years ago) and Woking (three years ago). Building on their experience and success, they’ve brought staff from their other shops to run the new outlet in Bickley, previously a builder’s merchant.

Like all Budgens stores, there’s a big focus on fresh food, with 21m of chillers to accommodate fresh foods and fresh produce. But it’s not just food that’s chilled. There’s also a 7.5m bank of refrigeration for chilled wines and beers. And, as customers continue to be driven by price, looking for value, there’s a host of promotions in store plus a fantastic range of Budgens own brand, including a ‘Good Value’ range confirming that Budgens really does offer ‘Real For Today’s Communities’.

Customers are delighted with their new shop, saying: “At last we’ve got a proper convenience store in our area.”

Fresh bread is baked daily, but the Patels have opted not to sell hot food or flowers. Says Sunda: “There’s a great coffee shop and a florist in the parade already. We want to work alongside these other stores to enhance the area, not to replace existing retailers. We’re delighted with the first few days of trading and working in partnership with Budgens we want to offer people in this area the very best in convenience retailing.”

Turnover at the 2,300 sq ft store smashed projected sales for the opening week and is on track to reach its projected target of £35,000 a week.

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