CUSTOMERS packed out a new Sainsbury’s Local store in Oxford after managers invited a neighbouring charity to the official opening.

The new 2,627 sq ft convenience store opened yesterday on the ground floor of the Royal Oxford Hotel.

It features an in-store bakery, fresh fruit and vegetables, dairy products, a self-serve coffee machine and a wide range of other products.

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Staff and guests from the Yellow Submarine employment charity, which supports people with learning disabilities, came along to cut the ribbon.

Oxford Mail:

The store, with 20 staff, is one of seven Sainsbury’s Locals across the city and is now trading from 7am-11pm Monday to Sunday.

A ribbon cutting ceremony took place on the forecourt outside as the new store opened at 9am.

By lunchtime the supermarket branch was packed with shoppers, with some praising the available discounts.

Oxford Mail:

Store manager Paul Haste said: “We are absolutely delighted to be here - we have been after this site for seven years and now we have got it.

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“The construction team did a great job to get the store ready in such a short time and everything looks great.

“”We have created about 14 new jobs and have made a £500 donation to the Yellow Submarine charity as they are close neighbours.

“I feel really proud that we are now open - it’s taken months of hard work to get to this point.”

Customer Mandy Zaccheo, who lives in Botley and works in HR at Oxford University, said the store was in a ‘perfect location’ for her to pick up groceries on the way home.

Oxford Mail:

She added: “I went in this morning just to check it out - I think it will do really well - there’s so much passing trade.”

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Co-director of Yellow Submarine Anna Cheetham thanked Sainsbury’s for its donation.

She added: “We are hoping there will be some great partnership work in the future and we will see if there is the possibility of setting up some work placements.

“I think this could be a mutually beneficial partnership - I’m pleased to see the rejuvenation of Park End Street.”

The charity runs a cafe in Park End Street and another in Witney and in September it celebrated its 10the anniversary with a party at the Hill End centre.

Oxford Mail:

In its first 10 years, Yellow Submarine has grown from a two-person enterprise, to a thriving charity providing over 37,500 hours of support to members, with residential holidays, social clubs, school holiday activities, sheltered work experience, traineeships and its social enterprise cafes.

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Construction work started on site in Frideswide Square at the beginning of October.

The store will provide competition for the M&S branch at Oxford railway station and with Waitrose in Botley Road.

There is a Sainsbury’s at the Westgate Centre, another in St Aldate’s and a superstore at Heyford Hill.

There is also a Sainsbury’s Local in London Road, Headington.