AFTER nine months of renovations and reconstruction, the new Checkers and House and Home stores were opened to the public at the Greenacres shopping centre on Wednesday (31/10/2012).
The two stores were gutted by fire in the early hours of January 26. While both were destroyed, others in the complex suffered smoke and water damage. The fire was caused by an electrical fault.
No jobs were lost after the closure of the two stores as staff were redeployed to other Port Elizabeth branches. The same staff also returned to the store once the R37-million renovations were completed.
Other stores that were also affected by the fire, including Jet and Ackermans, have already reopened.
"All compliments should go to Checkers, because they went out of their way to replenish shelves and there were no delays. There were no disgruntled shoppers," centre manager Brent Starr said.
He said the bottlenecks were also quickly dealt with so that there was a steady flow of customers.
Starr also thanked the other tenants in the complex for their patience and understanding after many months of construction work.
"Having Checkers and House and Home back in the complex will provide that added value to the complex.
"It will certainly uplift the entire eastern section of the complex and House and Home especially has a wonderful new concept and design," he said.
Visitors to the store yesterday were treated to entertainment and activities at the store.
Customers were entertained by the Algoa FM Hit Mobile and there were hamper giveaways.
Customers who purchased items to the value of R500 or more also had a chance to win a trolley of groceries worth R1000.
Celebrity chef Jenny Morris was at the store handing out goodies to shoppers and said shoppers had been frantic all day trying to get their hands on opening day specials.
"There was a queue winding all the way around the corner, but the atmosphere has been incredible and everything has been great," she said.
The store will also have a Money Market counter where customers can, among other things, buy event tickets, cellphone and Telkom phone cards, lotto tickets, gift vouchers, bus and airline tickets.
They can also buy electricity, pay their TV licence accounts, make SASSA withdrawals or make money transfers to any Shoprite or Checkers store in South Africa.