EAGER shoppers turned out in droves on Monday morning to get their first glimpse of the new Asda store in Portadown as it was opened by Dame Mary Peters.
Former Olympic gold medallist Dame Mary was joined by store manager Robert Ryans as well as local councillors, MLAs and Asda staff for the official opening of the £40 million store.
“I’m really proud of this town and its people and consider it to be a very important part of my past,” said Dame Mary.
“So I’m delighted to be here with Asda today and to play my part in what I consider to be an investment in the future of Portadown.
“This represents a great boost for the area, creating much-needed jobs, attracting more shoppers into the town, and offering local families the choice, quality and value they need during these tough economic times.”
The new 44,000 sq ft store, which is Asda’s 17th supermarket in Northern Ireland, has created 450 part-time and full-time jobs for the area.
It offers a range of food and non-food items, including a range of George clothing and homewares, as well as providing parking spaces for more than 700 cars.
“What a fantastic way to celebrate our arrival in Portadown,” said store manager Mr Ryans.
“Mary Peters is an absolute legend and we will do everything possible to live up to her spirit of fairness, honesty, and community respect. I thank everyone who has helped us in the run-up to today, particularly our great team of colleagues who are the face of Asda and will help us deliver the value and service which local people really want.”
The Portadown store is the first Asda supermarket in Northern Ireland to offer its ‘click & collect’ service, allowing shoppers to order online and collect their shopping from the store when it best suits them.
It is also the ninth store in Northern Ireland to sell petrol.
Entertainment at the opening event included music groups, balloon modellers, face painters and food sampling, the Asda breakfast show and other fun activities.