Aylsham at Budgens set to reopen with new look and new boss
14:42 09 October 2013
Archant Norfolk 2013
An Aylsham supermarket reopens tomorrow, Thursday, after a takeover and makeover.
Holt businessman Michael Baker has added the town’s Budgens store to his retail empire.
It will continue to be Budgens, and have everyday shopping lines – but will also add groceries and wines from Bakers and Larners food hall.
Mr Baker said the upgrade showed there was scope for local independent stores to compete with the big national chains.
The store is midway between a Tesco further along Norwich Road, while there is also a Co-operative store in the Market Place.
“We are not trying to compete with Tesco. We are trying to provide quality. People say our Holt store is Waitrose quality at Tesco prices.
“In Holt we are supporters of local produce and will do the same in Aylsham.
“And having a refurbished Budgens will bring more people into the town, helping other traders. We want to show there is life after Tesco.”
Mr Baker said there were fears the Budgens store might shut, so he talked with franchise parent company Musgrave about taking it on.
CT Baker already had a presence in the 7,000-population town, twice the size of Holt, with its builders’ merchants – and the company saw potential there.
Acquiring the store had not been in its development plans, but neither had Budgens of Holt and other previous additions. It was just a matter of “grabbing opportunities when they arise”, said Mr Baker.
He said the store would look different, with new fittings. The post office was staying but the coffee shop had been axed. There would be a new delicatessen and fresh bread bakery.
About 15pc of the goods will be from Bakers and Larners. The store – open 8am to 8pm every day except Sundays which will be 10am to 4pm – will initially be managed by Sandra Taylor-Meeds from the Holt Budgens, and some other specialist staff will be brought across to help establish the deli section.