THE early bird caught a high definition television in Towcester yesterday as the town celebrated the opening of two new retail outlets.
On Wednesday Countrywide rural supplies store opened its doors for the first time, followed by the opening of the Aldi supermarket yesterday, Thursday. Both now occupy the site formerly home to the Central Wool Growers in Old Greens Norton Road. The first 100 people through the doors at Aldi received a golden envelope containing prizes and Bhupinder Singh from Northampton queued from 4.30am for the 8am opening and was given a 19 inch HD TV.
Mr Singh said: “It was pretty cold. But someone told me that at other Aldi openings people were there from 4.45am, so that was on my mind. Normally, to gain something you have to suffer a little.”
With Mr Singh was Najib Sojani, who is also from Northampton, but works in Brackley and said he will now be doing his weekly shop in Towcester after being given a digital video recorder.
A group of students from Sponne School each walked away with a combination TV/DVD, and many others were given pre-packed bags of shopping featuring the store’s leading products.
Towcester mayor Martin Johns cut the ribbon to officially open the store.
He said: “Obviously all this offers even more choice and hopefully will keep prices competitive in Towcester. And this has to be a good indication of a growing town.”
Mr Johns said a store like Aldi would fill a vacant niche in the market and hoped that it would bring people into Towcester who would then spend money at other businesses in the town.
He added: “I think it’s not just about this store, it’s about adding to the vibrancy of Towcester.”
Unlucky shoppers Fay and Trevor Wilkins from Greens Norton were 102 in the queue. They have been going to Aldi stores in Daventry, Northampton and Milton Keynes and are looking forward to saving on petrol during the weekly shop.
But Mrs Wilkins admits she is unlikely to be spending any more money in the other Towcester stores.
Mr Wilkins said they did not spend much time shopping in Towcester as it was often difficult to find parking.
Countrywide did have a store at the Bell Plantation which is now replaced by the 10,000 sqft store opposite Aldi.
Store manager Charlotte Hawes said: “It’s been very successful so far and it’s nice to see some familiar faces from the Bell Plantation.
“We fit within the rural community of Towcester, which is a thriving market town, and sits extremely well within our core product range.”