Folk come from miles around to visit the Waitrose in Sudbury, and for good reason if our shopper's experience is par for the course.

Not only does the store boast a cafeteria and one of Waitrose's largest non-food offerings, but the friendliness and knowledge of the employees make for a serene shopping environment.

"Because we've got such a large catchment area, for many of our customers it's as much a day out as a shopping trip," said winning store manager Paul Reeley.

"A lot of our customers stay for two or three hours and grab a bite of lunch in the café, and the non-food offer adds an extra something to the branch."

The Sudbury store is the only Waitrose within an 18-mile radius of this affluent part of Suffolk, making it a hub for wealthy achievers who make up 42% of the local population.

To accommodate its growing fanbase, the store underwent an extension in 2006, growing floorspace by 50%.

Despite the affluence of the local area, CACI data suggests that the local Tesco is best suited to this corner of East Anglia - a statistic that doesn't faze Reeley.

"We have a very loyal Waitrose customer base here and consider ourselves at the heart of the community. The fact that we received a community achievement award in 2006, voted for by the people of Sudbury, says a lot about what the store means to the area."

Topics