DOZENS of customers poured into a long-awaited new supermarket as it opened its doors to the public for the first time.
And pensioner John Davies was rewarded with a box of chocolates for being the first into the Tesco Extra at the old foundry site in Fareham yesterday.
But last-minute preparations for the store were thrown into chaos by a power cut the day before the grand opening.
Mr Davies, 72, of Malvern Avenue, in Fareham said: ‘It’s very nice.
‘I’m quite impressed by how it’s turned out.
‘I’ll be using it quite a bit – we have been using the North Harbour store up to now, but this is closer.
‘I’m interested in the travel agency they’ve got in here as well, as we like to travel.’
Staff were restocking the shelves after the power cut until 10pm on Sunday.
Project manager for Tesco Allan Roe said: ‘We were put on the mains on Saturday morning at about 9.30am, and it dropped out at about 10.30am on Sunday.
‘At least it happened on Sunday and not our opening today, which would have been a disaster.
‘Fortunately we still had the generators onsite which we’d been using before we were connected to the mains, but we did lose some stock, mostly ice cream and chickens.
‘We were able to restock pretty rapidly from nearby shops and our distribution centre in Southampton.
‘I’m proud of this project. It’s a real credit to our contractors that they’ve completed it so quickly.’
Store manager Jon Roberts added: ‘We could have done without the power cut, but it’s great that none of our customers would have known today from looking at the store about the problems we’ve had.
‘It’s a fantastic store and we’ve got a great team here.’
Ian Mayo of Shearwater Avenue, Fareham took his children Alice, nine, and Charlie, 10, along to the opening before school.
He said: ‘We just wanted to come along for the occasion.
‘This is a landmark in the centre of Fareham and it’s nice to be here for something like this.
‘It’s been fantastic watching it go up – it’s a great building.’
The Mayor of Fareham, Councillor Trevor Cartwright, opened the store and received a cheque for £1,000 from the supermarket giants, which will go to his charities.
Seventy residents living nearby have been given £20 vouchers and a letter of apology for any disruption caused by the development.