Re­tail’s brave new out-of-town world

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Remember When? -

In mod­ern times, many a high street up and down the coun­try has been left be­hind in favour of outof-town shop­ping.

It all started with DIY stores, and then the ma­jor su­per­mar­ket chains fol­lowed suit with their big bright and mod­ern out-of-town ‘air­craft hangars’, as one per­son de­scribed them to me re­cently.

Su­per­mar­kets in the town cen­tre and, in par­tic­u­lar, on the high street had out­grown their prime sites by the 1990s.

And with many chains want­ing to ex­pand their ranges and ven­ture into non-foods, they were left with lit­tle al­ter­na­tive but to build out­side the tra­di­tional shop­ping ar­eas.

The of­ten com­pact and bi­joux su­per­mar­kets of the town’s past are still much missed.

More­over, with things be­com­ing more and more profit-led, the per­sonal ser­vice that pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions loved and re­lied on is of­ten sadly miss­ing – al­though you do still find a few staff within these gi­ant stores still that will go the ex­tra mile to help.

In Ash­ford, Tesco and Sains­bury’s set the out-oftown trend by open­ing stores in 1992 – at Willes­bor­ough for Tesco on the for­mer Crooks­foot house site, and on Simone Weil Av­enue be­side the Ash­ford In­ter­na­tional Ho­tel for Sains­bury’s.

This week’s Re­mem­ber When takes a sneak peek at the fit­ting-out of one of the first ex­pan­sion can­di­dates – Sains­bury’s.

As a 16-year-old, I was given ex­clu­sive ac­cess to pho­to­graph the store’s in­te­rior be­fore its com­ple­tion for open­ing in Au­gust of that year.

Do you have any pho­to­graphs or slides that you would be will­ing to lend me, to en­able them to be scanned and fea­tured in the Ken­tish Ex­press?

If so please, write to me: Steve Sal­ter, Ken­tish Ex­press Re­mem­ber When, 34-36 North Street, Ash­ford, TN24 8JR or email me at re­mem­ber­when_ kmash@hot­ or fol­low me on Twit­ter @ SteveKMAsh­ford.

You can also leave a tele­phone mes­sage for me with brief de­tails by call­ing 01233 623232.

The var­i­ous re­frig­er­a­tion units are seen to­gether with the dif­fer­ent de­part­men­tal aisles dur­ing the fi­nal few months of fit­ting-out of Sains­bury’s By­brook store.

Sains­bury’s By­brook, 1992, and a rare view show­ing the gen­eral fit-out of the new store, the first time the chain had ven­tured out of the town cen­tre. Here, the fruit and veg­etable area can be seen be­ing as­sem­bled, with the fish counter in the back­ground.

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