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Store takes on staff from pool of jobless

By Essex Chronicle  |  Posted: June 03, 2012

  • OPENING: Tesco Express opens in Moulsham Street with a ribbon-cutting by new Mayor of Chelmsford Christopher Kinglsey

  • New Tesco store in Moulsham St

  • Super eight: Map of stores across Chelmsford and, right, concerned shopkeeper Neil Mehta

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A NEW Tesco store that opened on Moulsham Street this week hired 19 workers from the pool of unemployed people at the nearby Chelmsford job centre.

Tesco Express faced criticism in September 2011 when rumours began circling that the global corporation would take away trade from the road full of small businesses.

The building used to be the art shop, Hussey and Greaves, and Moulsham Street traders started a petition of more than 1,000 signatures against the Tesco Express.

But deputy manager Katherine Wilson was eager to employ as many staff as possible to help slash the numbers of the unemployed in Chelmsford, which stand at around 3,000.

She said: "We want schools to come to us when they need sponsorship or help with school fetes, and need ice creams or anything like that.

"With the Express stores we like to think of ourselves as a small family – we get really close. The traders on Moulsham Street are now our neighbours and we want to help out where we can."

Tesco Express stores usually have around 20 employees, but the Moulsham Street store has decided to take on 28 people.

Some have been transferred from other stores but the majority are new, like Kara Underwood, who was forced to move from Northamptonshire to Chelmsford just to get a job.

"I was unemployed for a year before moving with a friend to Old Moulsham," said Kara, 20.

"I applied for about 20 jobs, but this was my first interview and I got it.

"I am so pleased, it is so good to have got this opportunity."

Mel Thomas, 23, from Chelmsford, finished her last job at Christmas and was unemployed for four months.

"I worked for Tesco years ago and I know what a good company it is to work for," she said."

But there has been hesitation from local shops, such as newsagent Moulsham Super Store, Food and Wine.

Owners Dina and Neil Mehta have been working for more than 25 years, and do not know how long they will last.

Neil, 56, said: "There are about seven or eight businesses that are going to suffer down the street.

"There are already two Tesco stores within a mile of here, so I have no idea why we need another one.

"It is going to take away our businesses and have a massive impact, and within a few years this street will become dead.

"I could compete with prices, but I cannot compete with the brand of Tesco."

Chair of Moulsham Street Traders Jayne Gayer said: "I know we had a petition against the store but it is here now.

"We would like to see Tesco joining the community and support this area and events we organise.

"We would like to see customers continue to support local businesses.

"It remains to be seen what impact and help it will bring to Moulsham Street."

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  • chalfred  |  June 03 2012, 11:27PM

    I'd rather be on the dole than a minimum wage shelf stacker at tesco's thank you.

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