THE opening of a national opticians chain in Whitchurch is “proof” that the town is bouncing back from Covid-19, according to the mayor.

Councillor Andy Hall was on hand on Monday, June 20 to officially open the new Specsavers branch which is based in the Smithfield Shopping Centre.

He also welcomed the investment by the chain in opening a new branch.

Cllr Hall said: "It is an absolute honour to open the new Specsavers in Whitchurch.

"This is just proof that Whitchurch is bouncing back after the Covid-19 pandemic and the confidence is building with a national organisation and national retailer invested in our town.

"I understand that it is to the tune of over £400,000 to open this one premises.

"That is a massive investment and it just goes to prove that confidence is growing in Whitchurch as a market town and I wish them a great future in our town and that the people of Whitchurch will benefit from the service they provide."

Staff from the new store told the Whitchurch Herald they believe the new store will have big benefits for the town and for residents.

Devan Chauhan, retail director for Specsavers, said: "It think it is a great new addition to the town.

"I think from the response, a lot of our customers are having to travel a fair distance to get affordable eye-care and it is nice that it is on their doorstep.

"I think a lot of customers have travelled to Wrexham, Crewe, Shrewsbury, Market Drayton and Nantwich.

"People can book in online, over the phone and in the store.

"Collectively between us there is over 100 years of optical experience.

"It is nice to reassure customers they are dealing with people who are very experienced.

His colleague, Mohamed Rashid, the optical director, said they had a positive response from people in the town with plenty of bookings.

He added: "I think it is a very strong brand with eye health and ear care as well at the heart of it.

"Because it is a nationwide or a global brand you can go there anywhere in the country.

"If your glasses are a problem you can always pop in.

"We have been overwhelmed with the response from the community actually.

"On social media, the feedback has been phenomenal, much more welcoming than what we expected.

"We are really pleased about the whole thing.

"It [bookings] is already up to three weeks, which was a lot more than we expected."

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