Some people arrived at 5am this morning to start queuing at the new Marks and Spencer Store in Craigavon.
And by 10am it was a very long queue, stretching back to the road, hundreds patiently awaiting the official opening.
With manager John Woods and Lord Mayor Julie Flaherty, the ribbon was cut by two pupils from Ceara Special School in Lurgan, Brid McKeown (15) and Malachy Kofa (12)who were the lucky winners of a colouring competition organised by the store.
Also at Marlborough Retail Park O’Neill’s and Air-Tastic Trampoline Park opened their doors to the public today.
Built by local firm Turkington Developments, the former 80,000 sq ft B&Q site has been extensively redeveloped as part of a £7m project which will see more retailers join the initial trio.
M&S spans 7,000 square foot at Marlborough Retail Park and the firm are creating 56 new jobs.
Great British Bake Off 2016 finalist Andrew Smyth was a special guest at the opening where he hosted a series of baking demonstrations giving customers a taste of what M&S Craigavon has to offer.
Lurgan man John Woods said: “I have been waiting for a long time to bring M&S to the local community and as a Craigavon local, I’m extremely proud to finally welcome our customers to the store.
“Our customers are at the heart of everything we do and hearing their positive comments today has been hugely rewarding.”
Lord Mayor Julie Flaherty said: “Investment by M&S is a huge endorsement for the area, highlighting our central location, accessible talent pool and welcoming community. This is real coup for the whole borough and we couldn’t be prouder!”
A further phase of Marlborough Retail Park development will add Starbucks and Burger King to its list of leading retailers and leisure providers.
Furthermore, planning permission has also been secured for Captain Green’s Adventure Golf.
Stephen Thompson, O’Neills Sports Area Manager said: “O’Neills’ product is well established in the Craigavon area, however, this new store and fit-out is set to take the brand to another level.
“Celebrating 100 years in business, we are excited to welcome visitors to see for themselves how far the brand has evolved.”
Sharyn Ingrey, Area Manager for Air-tastic Trampoline Park added: “We are very excited to be bringing Air-tastic to Craigavon and we can’t wait to open. Our state-of-the-art trampoline park is a destination for the entire family, whether you’re six months or 60 years of age.”
Shane Murphy, of Turkington Developments, said: “Phase 1 works are now complete with two new ‘drive thru’ restaurants expected to be ready for Christmas.”