Well-wishers and shoppers gathered outside Budleigh Salterton’s new Tesco store this morning (Friday) to watch the official opening.
The Tesco Express, in Fore Street, opened at 8am and very quickly shoppers began browsing the shelves and filling their baskets.
As part of the launch celebrations store manager Adam Williams presented £250 to Debbie Newson, of Budleigh Salterton, for her London Marathon fund in aid of Hospice UK.
Adam thanked Budleigh mayor, Cllr Caz Sismore-Hunt, deputy mayor, Cllr Mike Hilliar, and all the well-wishers and onlookers for supporting the Friday morning launch.
He said: “The store’s been eagerly anticipated. It’s been going on for quite a while – it’s been quite a build.
“People have been really positive with the range we are stocking and how much we have managed to fit into the shop.
“We are pleased to be finally open and serving Budleigh Salterton shoppers, and we are looking forward to helping the town.”
Retired Budleigh councillor Chris Kitson, who in 2006 wrote to Terry Leahy, Tesco Chief Executive, asking if he would consider developing a store in Budleigh Salterton, said the new shop was a welcome addition to the town.
He hopes the store will open the floodgates for other traders to consider setting up shop in Budleigh.
Chris, who managed the development of more than 100 national chain non-food high street shops, said: “I could see that not only would the community benefit from a local food store, offering a known brand at competitive prices, but its presence would draw people to the town – benefitting existing retailers, showing that it is the place for new retail businesses, and creating employment.
“I welcome Tesco to our town. I am sure our high street will benefit from their presence.
“Some of our existing shops have been for sale on the open market for many months, featured on various business for sale web sites.
“They may soon find there is now new demand for retail property, or indeed their own individual businesses may see renewed customer interest.”
The new store, which has a new ATM cash machine for shoppers, has created more than 20 jobs.
Tesco Express Budleigh will be open daily from 6am until 11pm.