The opening of a new supermarket in other towns is usually a matter of fleeting interest to most people. A few lines and a display ad or two in the local newspaper and a leaflet drop to let everyone know the new store is in business are usually the only indication of a new addition to the local shopping scene.
This, it hardly needs to be said, is not the case in Middlewich where anything new on the (metaphorical) High Street, and in particular anything which adds to local choice is welcomed with great enthusiasm (leavened, of course, with the usual moans and complaints).
Middlewich's shopping woes date back to the late 1960s when towns all around had caught the Supermarket bug with a vengeance. Crewe, Northwich and Winsford (though not, oddly, Sandbach) all climbed aboard the supermarket bandwagon and the shopping pattern for the next forty or fifty years was established.
For Middlewich this meant travelling to a nearby town to do a weekly, or monthly, 'big shop' and picking up a limited number of other items in our town's smaller shops.
The nearest thing that Middlewich could boast to a 'supermarket' until Somerfields came on the scene was the 'Co-operative Superstore' in the town centre which replaced several shops around the town owned by the Winsford Co-op. Part of this enormous building is now a Tesco Express store.
It's important to remember that one of the main problems which Middlewich has faced over the years has been relatively low population growth compared with other towns in the area. The 'magic figure' of 15,000 which has been quoted as the trigger-point for major chain stores and High Street retailers to look at establishing themselves here has still not been reached, despite all the house building which has gone on in recent years, so things have remained static, save for the take-over of the Somerfields store by Tesco and the building of the cut-price Lidl store on Chester Road.
The predicted 'Store Wars' which were supposed to have erupted when Morrisons built their store fizzled out in the very week of the new store's opening, with Tesco announcing that it would not, after all, be building a massive store in the centre of town - a store which, for once, would have merited that often misused 'superstore' tag.
So is it any wonder that when Monday 28th January came along all eyes were on the gleaming new Morrisons supermarket in Newton Bank/Chester Road which would herald the dawn of a new era for shopping in Middlewich?
Geraldine Williams We paid a State Visit to the new Morrisons last time we were in Middlewich and were suitably impressed. The layout is very clever - and we're Morrisons (Crewe) devotees!
THE MIDDLEWICH DIRECTORY: MORRISONS SUPERMARKET
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