At 8am today, sprint canoeist and Liam Heath was joined by the Rustington Otters youth football club to cut the ribbon of the new store in Manor Retail Park.
Ethan Lecuyer, ten, has been playing for the club since he was four and was one of the first people in the store. He said: “It looked awesome. The inside is massive.”
He chatted to Liam after the opening and got to hold the gold medal he won at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janiero.
He said: “It was just mesmerising because you aren’t going to hold a gold medal every day are you?”
Liam was surrounded by shoppers asking for his signature and posing for pictures. The athlete, who is in training for the World Championships in August, said the event was ‘great’: “Aldi are a big supporter of Team GB. We get an allowance to go shopping so it is a massive support to us when we are training. It is one less thing to worry about.”
The new store has 220 shared car parking spaces and 1,254 square metres of retail space. It has also created 30 new jobs.
Store manager Steve Newlyn-Bowmer has been working for the company for five years, and moved to this store from the Aldi in Bexhill, East Sussex.
He said he was ‘really pleased’ with the new-look store, which has upgraded fixtures like the fruit and vegetable counters.
“We are bringing some fantastic priced products to Rustington with a high level of customer service.
“A lot of people I have spoken to travel from all over the place. I think people are pleased it is finally open.”
One such happy shopper was Frances Marshall, 63, from Littlehampton, who can finally shorten her current Aldi commute to Havant in Hampshire. She said: “I love Aldi. I have been waiting for this for such a long time.
“May I say the wine is excellent, but the fresh produce is good too. It really is good value.”
Nigel Quinless visited the store with his mother-in-law Margaret Sadler, who is from Littlehampton.
He said: “They have great chocolate twists, and their sliced meats are good. We love a nice bit of sliced meat.”