John Lewis Cheltenham is promising to offer the ‘future of retailing on the high street’ at its new £23m store with a range of exciting customer services and spaces along with its quality products.
Press were allowed in for a ‘construction’ tour today in advance of the store opening to the public on Thursday 18th October. The existing former Beechwood Shopping Centre ‘shell’ can still be seen but everything is opened out and it’s light and spacious. Over two floors, the store has escalators at the front and middle with a lift to the 331-space car park.
For parents, there will be extra wide aisles for pushchairs along with a spacious changing room near to the toilets on the first floor where you can breastfeed and change. There is also an accessible toilet on the ground floor. The first-floor cafe will have seating for 130 people and there is also a Huffkins Bakery and Tearooms opening on the same floor at the front of the store. There is an entrance/exit at the back of the shop through the café. Other services for parents will include a Nursery Advice Service along with a car seat fitting service and ‘stress free’ child shoe measuring.
John Lewis is also excited about opening a new ‘Discovery Room’ which will be open for the community to use. Ideas are still being finalised but there will be events, talks and possible room hire available. Ideas range from workshops for elderly people to stories and craft for parents and children. They are keen to gain more ideas from people in the community.
If you walk in as one of the first customers at 9am on 18th October, you will see the huge beauty hall which will include the ‘Charlotte Tilbury’ range. Further into the store, you will find a ‘Nail and Brow Bar’ service along with an ‘Experience Desk’ for customer service where you can book a free personal styling session at the Style Studio (for men and women) or secure an appointment at the Nail and Brow Bar or even book a space at one of the upcoming events in the Discovery Room.
Branch Manager Martin Bundy said, ‘The future of retailing is about marrying great products and expert partners along with providing the services we have here – from nursery advice to personal styling and the Home Design Service but also including places for people to dwell.’
Mr Bundy, who has been with John Lewis for 18 years, said that Cheltenham is, ‘a catchment we’ve wanted to be in for a long time. It has a vibrant high street and offers more than just pure retail with the festivals here.’ The new store is creating 300 new jobs for local people who will be called the ‘partners’ and it will offer its ‘Click and Collect’ service.
Cheltenham Council has a program of work being carried out, including pavements, on completion for opening.
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