Norwich Marks and Spencer store’s revamp backed by longest serving employee
The new developments at the Marks and Spencer store in Norwich have been given a big thumbs up from its longest serving member of staff.
The 18-month project is the biggest redesign in M&S's 99-year history in Norwich and will make the store the company's second-biggest redeveloped store in the country.
Work still continues apace ahead of a planned grand opening in September, already brought forward from the original target of October, but the impressive new green glass extension on the Chapelfield side of the store has already been turning plenty of heads in recent months.
Customers are beginning to get a good look at the extension, although the layout of the store is still shifting around while the store receives a major modernisation, and so are staff.
Pat Bennett, 57, has been with M&S for more than 38 years, the past 18 of which have been spent working at the Rampant Horse Street department store in Norwich.
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Her husband, Brian, 60, also works at the Norwich M&S and has done for more than five years.
The couple, from the small village of Limpenhoe, near Cantley, have lived in Norfolk since 1993 – with Brian previously working as a taxi driver in the city – and both think the new developments at the store represent big progression for M&S in Norwich.
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Pat said: 'It's the biggest change we've been through in my time here and it's amazing how much we have progressed. There are changes happening all around the store all the time and it's turning into a wonderful modern store.
'We'd had a lot of promises in the past about how the store was going to change and now we are seeing them come to life.'
The new glass-fronted extension is also very popular with staff, Pat added, saying: 'The windows on the lower first floor look beautiful and it's lifted the whole store because it's so much brighter.'
Brian, who spends most of his time working in the cafe on the second floor, agreed that more light in the store has been a big change as the previous cafe did not have much natural light.
He said: 'I was used to going along with no windows and now we have lovely new windows and views of the castle, so it's much nicer. It feels a lot bigger here now and it looks fantastic from the outside.'
Store manager Andy Barber added: 'The company has talked about these developments for 10 to 15 years and we've waited to do this at the right time.
'We have got the longest-serving members of staff excited about the newest part of the store, which I think is a lovely juxtaposition.'
What do you think of the M&S developments? Email eveningnewsletters.co.uk or write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1JE.