Portsmouth Sainsbury's employee remenisces as store closes for good

EMOTIONAL goodbyes have been made to a supermarket as the tills close for the final time.

Saturday, 30th January 2021, 3:43 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th January 2021, 3:49 pm

The Sainsbury’s superstore in Commercial Road had its last day of trading today, as the company closes a number of stores across the country.

It comes as the firm opened a new Sainsbury’s Local store in Commercial Road at Stanhope House.

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Lynda Saunders, the store's oldest employee. Picture: Keith Woodland (300120-4)

Today the shop was called a ‘community asset’ that will be ‘dearly missed’ by many.

Prior to becoming Sainsbury’s, the site housed the Royal Portsmouth Hospital until 1979.

Lynda Saunders, 72, has been working full time at the store since 1982 but has taken redundancy in the wake of its closure.

She said: ‘For all of us it feels like the end of an era.

The side entrance to Sainsbury's in Commercial Road, Portsmouth. Picture: Keith Woodland (300120-9)

‘I had an operation here when I was a younger and this site was a hospital, then I’ve ended up working here my whole life.

‘This place has provided so much more than groceries – we’ve taken food to people since before deliveries were a thing, we’ve cooked for the homeless and supported countless charities.

‘It’s not just a supermarket, it’s a community asset and I think it will be dearly missed.’

Lynda is one of several employees who have taken redundancy, rather than being transferred to other stores. She hopes to find another part-time job elsewhere.

Rodney Brace, 76, has been going to the Sainsbury’s twice a week for decades.

He said: ‘I always come to this store to pick up some lottery tickets.

‘It’s a shame because this Sainsbury’s has been around for a really long time, and losing it will be a nuisance to many people.

‘I imagine the building will be turned into student accommodation, or something like that.’

For many, the car park has also been used as a free way to park and access Commercial Road.

Joanna Thompson, 50, said she used the store for its free car park if she was shopping in town.

She said: ‘This Sainsbury’s isn’t too different to the one in Farlington, and that one is closer to home for me so I’ll just go there instead.

‘I just hope this doesn’t become another block of flats or something.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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