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Morrisons Shaftesbury mayor Councillor Andy Hollingshead
Shaftesbury mayor Councillor Andy Hollingshead with Richard Whittemore and Kelsie Whittemore at the opening of the new Morrisons Daily on Bell Street.

The official opening of the new Morrisons Daily store on Bell Street is a sign of Shaftesbury’s success in attracting new businesses, the town’s mayor said.

Councillor Andy Hollingshead was present on Thursday January 13 as the venue – a former Gateway, Somerfield and Budgens store – once again reopened as a supermarket.

The new Morrisons Daily has been opened by family business Elite Garages, run by Richard Whittemore, and features a range of local and specialist produce.

‘On behalf of the town I’d like to say a big welcome to Richard and his team and to Morrisons,’ Councillor Hollingshead said.

‘It looks terrific …when you remember what an eyesore it has been! Once again it demonstrates how great a venue Shaftesbury is for business, businesses want to come here.’

Richard Whittemore’s daughter Kelsie said that the new team had been welcomed warmly by the town.

‘The generosity and kindness we’ve received from everyone in Shaftesbury has been amazing. We’ve really appreciated it,’ she said at the ceremony.

Among the staff at the new store are Alison Burr and Vanessa Wood, who both worked at the site in previous years, and who cut the ribbon to mark the official opening on Thursday morning.

Alison, 55, worked at the Gateway store on the site when it first opened in 1986, while Vanessa worked on the site for 20 years when it was under the Somerfield brand, and was the person who closed the door when the store shut in 2017.

Morrisons Daily Alison Burr Vanessa Wood
New employees Vanessa Wood, left, and Alison Burr open the new Morrisons Daily. Both used to work on the site when it operated under a different supermarket name.

Vanessa told Gillingham News: ‘I’m happy to be back. It’s a special day.’

Alsson said: ‘I’m really excited, I think it is what Shaftesbury needs and it’s definitely what I needed to get back into the retail sector. I’ve been out of retail for 20 years so it’s nice to get back into it.

She added: ‘It’s great to see some familiar faces and hopefully we’ll bring lots of business and new people into the town. I didn’t expect to be back! I hoped that eventually it would become a retail premises again but you just don’t know, so I’m really glad.’

West Sussex-based Elite Garages run nine petrol stations across the south and south west of England and also 15 ‘fast fix’ garages. The petrol stations all have shops but the Morrisons Daily in Shaftesbury is the first time they have launched a stand-alone retail outlet in this way.

Morrisons Shaftesbury

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