This wasn’t just a store opening, it was an M&S store opening!
A large queue gathered for the opening of the new M&S store at Rushden Lakes this morning (Friday).
There was a brass band to keep them entertained as they waited for the ribbon to be cut by store manager Emily King and M&S’ local VIP for the day, 17-year-old Natasha Krywald.
During the build up to the launch, M&S ran a competition to highlight Rushden’s local community heroes and Natasha was voted the winner.
Natasha’s courageous background has seen her become a carer for her mum since the age of eight and has since set up a weekly support group and written a book to guide other young carers.
Natasha said: “It has been a huge honour to open the brand new M&S at Rushden Lakes this morning.
“There are so many local people doing great things within the local community, so I am flattered to have been chosen.
“The new store looks amazing, and I can’t wait to start shopping here.”
After cutting the ribbon, Natasha was guest of honour for M&S on its opening day.
Store manager Emily said: “I was so excited this morning and there was pure adrenaline to get the store open.
“I just feel really proud of what the team has done.”
She felt customers coming through the doors for the first time shared the team’s energy for the new store and she added: “A lot of people have been saying this has been a long time coming.”
Emily was hoping to meet as many customers as possible today and see what they make of the new store.
The store has extensive womenswear and lingerie departments, including a walk-in bra fitting service.
It also has a beauty department as well as menswear, kidswear and homeware departments and a click-and-collect service.
The store also has a 130-seat cafe with views over the site, which was been extremely busy since opening this morning.
Gareth Speed, project director at Simons Group, said: “Simons is extremely proud of its relationship with M&S, which spans 16 years.
“The Rushden store is a great example of what we are able to deliver and how, working together with M&S, we can bring a range of offerings to the local community.
“We are delighted to be part of the official opening today and look forward to bringing similar projects to fruition in the future.”
The M&S store’s chosen charity for the year will be Rushden MIND, and they were invited to be part of the store’s opening day celebrations.
Sherry Adams, service manager with Rushden Mind, said: “When we received the call informing us that Rushden Mind has been chosen as the charity of the year for the new M&S at Rushden Lakes, the euphoria in our office was overwhelming.
“We have simply not stopped smiling, it gave our team such a much-needed lift and we all feel so grateful.
“We were invited to meet all the new staff and hear about their exciting ideas and are really looking forward to working with their customers to help raise funds and awareness in our local community.
“As a local mental health charity, many people are not aware of the work we do unless they or someone they know needs our support.
“The money raised will help plan our new crisis cafe, improve our training facilities where we deliver all year round psycho-educational courses, and enhance our six counselling rooms where last year we delivered over 3,000 hours of therapeutic support.
“Looking after your mental health and well-being is as important as looking after your physical self, so with this new support, we aim to deliver more services to the one in four people who every year experience mental health problems.
“Local support is vital to us and opportunities like this mean so much - so look out for us in store and thank you M&S - our M&S!”
The new M&S store will be open until 8pm today.
From tomorrow (Saturday) onwards, the opening times will be 8am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and 11am to 5pm on Sundays.