John Lewis opens in Chelmsford
For more than 18 months we have been awaiting the opening of the Bond Street development. I remember excitedly checking the plans for the development and being over the moon for the arrival of a local Las Iguanas restaurant. There's actually a plethora of new eateries opening, along with some big names in retail all anchored by the swanky new John Lewis store which will be their very first in Essex.
It's an exciting time for the town and speaks volumes that a prestigious brand such as John Lewis picked Chelmsford to open its first store in the county. Chelmsford is an affluent town and is full of families as well as London commuters so people around here want a certain standard of living which I think has been lacking slightly until recently. The high street was completely lack lustre with very limited shopping options which was driving locals to travel to Lakeside or even Westfield for their wide range of shops. With this change people should actually be drawn into the area rather than travelling over to Bluewater or into London to a John Lewis.
I was lucky enough to have a tour of the fabulous John Lewis on the 26th before it officially opened on September 29th. It was exciting to be one of the first people to step foot inside the long awaited store.
Having creative control over the design of the building means they have paid particular attention to the architectural details, including a circular atrium which enables people on the 1st floor to look straight down into the stores entrance from which they have a particularly interesting piece if visual merchandising hanging, which will no doubt be updated with the seasons. Overlooking river chelmer is an imposing suspended staircase which is quite impressive and gives you a great view not only of the river but of the rest of the development, there is so much glass which means the store is flooded with natural light but I would imagine will look equality as stunning at night being able to see out over a moonlit town.
Beauty lovers will be pleased to hear that there are 14 make-up counters including MAC, Charlotte Tilbury, Tom Ford, OPI and Bobbi Brown. The overall look of the beauty area is really top notch, it's certainly good for seducing those pennies out of your purse!
Along with beauty you will also find giftware, mens fashion and large electrical items on the ground floor; but the first floor is where the really exciting things await you, women's fashion and bags of which they have a dedicated section for both Mulberry and Michael Kors! This is also the home of the Benugo coffee bar for when all of the shopping gets a bit much and you need some refreshments in the form of good coffee or a glass of cool crisp prosecco which is served via tap.
To help you out with all that shopping they have a personal shopper lounge with 3 levels of package, Style Express and Style Experience are complimentary in which the stylist will spend up to two hours with you to hep you find that perfect outfit, then there is Style Profile which costs £125 and the stylist will go more in depth and give you advise on your body shape and the best brands for you. You will be able to try on clothes in the comfort and privacy of the lounge but even if you are in one of the other changing areas they are all fitted with call buttons if you need assistance, which means no more to-ing and fro-ing to get different sizes or colours of that must have piece.
Kuoni have their own self styled area that you can go to if you are in the market for a holiday, they specialise in luxury travel and this shines through in their concession. It looks comfy and glamorous and I even spied a nespresso machine in there which means you can sip on your latte whilst deciding between the Maldives and Bora Bora!
Up on level 3 you'll find soft furnishings and furniture with home design advisers on hand to help you with your interior makeover. The top floor is laid out with different living room settings so you can really get a feel for the theme you'd like, and I have to say their furniture was really lovely and I may have spotted a few bits of homeware that made my heart flutter.
All in all the store is everything I wanted for the town and think that you will agree, shopping for your Christmas party outfits this year is going to be a breeze, not to mention all your gift shopping!
The store opens its doors at 9.30am this morning, so what are you waiting for? Hot step it down to Bond Street to see it all for yourself.