The brand new Aldi store in Hawick’s Commercial Road opened today with bargains galore waiting for the first few customers.
Opening the 1,254 sqm store was Scotland rugby seven and GB Olympic silver medallist Mark Robertson, who hails from Melrose.
After cutting the obligatory red ribbon, held by a group of schoolchildren from Wilton Primary School, Robertson joked: “You’ll probably be disappointed in seeing a Melrose man coming to open your new store, but it’s great to see a new Aldi in Hawick.”
He said: “I have been taking a fair bit of grief from the Hawick boys I coach, but it’s nice to come down to do this, and hopefully they will appreciate a local boy doing this as well.
“For us Olympic athletes who went to Rio, Aldi did play a huge part in our preparation, through vouchers and from the sponsorship aspect of things, it allowed us to prepare so much better, so it’s nice to be able to do this for them.”
Welcoming the new shop was the town’s honorary provost, Watson McAteer.
He said: “This has been a long time in coming, but you know what? It’s great for Hawick and it’s great for the Borders.
“It’s great to see it add to the other things that are happening on Commercial Road. It’s been a bit of a fight, but it’s good that it’s here.”
The new Aldi sets the cat amongst the pigeons somewhat in the town, as it is placed within a half-mile radius of five other supermarkets, including Iceland, Lidl, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s.
But with the new store comes 19 new jobs.
Mr McAteer said: “We’re trying to bring people into the town, increasing the footfall, and this can only help in that regard.
“It’s really good news for the town.”
Store manager Mark Nichol, who previously ran the very successful Aldi store in Galashiels, said he was delighted with his new place of work.
He told us: “It looks fantastic and there’s a massive crowd outside as well.
“The Galashiels shop has been very popular and people come to it from all over the Borders, so hopefully we can recreate that in Hawick as well.
“We can add something to Hawick and the competition can only be good for the people of Hawick.”
A limited number of opening day specials were on sale at the shop – including microwaves for £19.99 and large discounts on Dyson vacuums. The first 30 shoppers in the queue each received a complimentary bag full of fruit and vegetables from Aldi’s Super 6 range.
First in the queue was Newcastleton resident Ian McKay, who had turned up a whole hour early.
He said: “I normally shop in the Aldi in Carlisle, but this one is handier. It’s also on the main drag coming into Hawick, so I think it will be really popular.”