EAGER shoppers gathered to be first through the doors of Ripon's newest supermarket when Booths opened on Thursday (25th June).
More than 200 people were waiting outside to see company chairman Edwin Booth invite the Mayor of Ripon, Coun David Parnaby, to cut the ribbon to mark the official opening at 10am.
(Above - shoppers at the delicatessen counter in the new Booths supermarket)
Welcoming his new customers, Mr Booth said: "We have been seeking to serve you with food in Ripon for an extremely long time."
The family-run Lancashire-based company was founded in 1847, but the Ripon store is only the third it has opened in Yorkshire, following the opening of stores in Ilkley in 1997 and then another outlet in Settle.
Mr Booth said his family thought Ripon was "a cracking place" and this was a major reason for opening the 18,000 sq ft store in the city.
A touch of nostalgia was added by the presence of Booths' horse-drawn carriage but the Ripon store is bang up to date, pioneering several new company initiatives, including a self-service juice bar in the fruit and vegetables area and a 'Cafe 1847' area which replaces the concept of a traditional Booths' tearoom.
These will stand alongside such store staples as fresh fish and meat counters, wines and spirits, a hot food counter and an olive bar.
The opening of the store comes almost two years after construction work on the West of Market Place development - called Market Gate - began and follows the opening of Argos, in November, and Edge Health & Fitness, situated above the supermarket.
The £15 million West of Market Place scheme has transformed a once neglected part of the city centre and involved construction of a new access road, Marshall Way, which links Coltsgate Hill and Blossomgate as well as new homes and shop units.
The arrival of Booths is seen as a major coup, with the city's business leaders hoping it will help attract many more shoppers to the city.