Holt supermarket’s pledge to “Love Local” as it prepares to open �1.25m extension

A town centre superstore is defying the downturn by preparing to open a �1.25m extension - with the promise of expanding its range of 'Love Local' produce.

Budgens in Holt will on November 15 expand from 7,850sq ft to 13,000sq ft - with its numbers of employees increasing by 20 to 90.

The milestone will come almost four years to the day since Budgens was bought by family business CT Baker, which owns the neighbouring Bakers and Larners and CT Baker builders' merchants.

Managing director Michael Baker promised the extension would be 'very good for Holt', and said the company had since turned the story into the best performing Budgens store in the Musgrave Group, which owns the name.

'We then decided it wasn't good enough and needed to be better,' he said. 'It wasn't big enough, and we wanted to introduce non-food lines to improve our margins. So we decided to develop the land between Budgens and Bakers and Larners.'

He added: 'One of the things we have done every year is reinvest. The time to invest particularly is in times of recession, when you get good deals from builders and suppliers.'

He said the business currently spent �500,000 per year on food produced by suppliers within a 10 mile radius and that would 'mushroom enormously' with the store being expanded. And he insisted the expansion would benefit rather than harm the town centre.

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'The store is going to create a huge increase in shopping in the town centre,' he added. 'It's going to make it less necessary for people to drive out of the town to do their shopping. And we are in the town centre, so if people stay, they will use all of the shops.'