Waitrose in Abingdon is celebrating its 30th anniversary today.

The first 30 customers through the door at 7.30am were all given goodie bags including crisps, biscuits and sparkling wine and the celebrations will continue throughout the day, including a raffle and tasting sessions.

The supermarket in Abbey Close first opened in 1994 on the site of the old station.

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Owned by John Lewis, it's the town centre's main supermarket and it's free car park is always busy.

One of the first customers this morning was mum-of-two Sally Tucker from Tubney.

The retired teacher said: "I feel like Waitrose has tracked my life over the past three decades.

Oxford Mail: Sally Tucker at Waitrose"It brings back so many happy memories of coming here when my boys were young.

"It's such a friendly store and the staff looked after us so well when it was Covid times and we had to queue outside the store.

"It might not be the cheapest supermarket but I think it's the best place to shop for miles around."

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Mrs Tucker said enjoyed the service John Lewis provided where she can order goods online and then pick them up at the customer service desk.

She added: "It's a very useful service - I can order online and pick something up here the next day.

"Since the Botley Road closure I have hardly been into Oxford but I can get my favourite stuff delivered here.

"My friends always say I am Waitrose's biggest fan - I enjoy getting a free paper with my Waitrose card - I chose that instead of getting a free coffee."

One member of staff who has worked at the store for the past three decades is Lynn Walker from Abingdon.

She was working on a till from 7.30am today.

Mrs Walker said: "I am one of the originals who has been here since it opened - I think I started on February 14, 1994.

"I could retire but I don't want to because I enjoy my job - Waitrose have looked after us."

Oxford Mail: Martin Wooloff at WaitroseFellow long-serving staff member Martin Wooloff added: "I’ve worked with lovely people over the last 30 years. I’ve seen lots of changes: I remember when all the tills were cash and cheques were king! We used to train without computers and complete our time cards by hand."

Ayse Thompson, team manager for Waitrose Abingdon, said: “Today marks a huge milestone in the shop’s history, and it’s been great to celebrate with customers today - to reflect on everything we’ve achieved over the past 30 years, and our hopes for the future.” 

Waitrose was founded in 1904 as Waite, Rose & Taylor, later shortened to Waitrose.

It was acquired in 1937 by employee-owned retailer John Lewis Partnership.

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The John Lewis Partnership has rebounded into annual profit on strong sales and profit growth at Waitrose, but it will not pay a staff bonus again for the year.

Following a “challenging” set of results in 2022/23, profit before tax and exceptional items for JLP’s year to January 27 2024 was £42m, a £120m improvement on the prior year loss of £78m.

Waitrose sales rose 5% to £7.7bn and a record number of customers chose to shop with Waitrose.

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

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