DOZENS of people have already stepped inside Wickford’s refurbished Aldi as a Paralympics GB athlete officially cut the ribbon to mark its reopening.

After a seven-month refurbishment, the Broadway store welcomed customers once again to its bright and modern space this morning.

Some eager shoppers who have been counting down the days to the big opening were queuing since 7am to scoop up fresh British produce at bargain prices.

Echo: Early - shoppers forming a queueEarly - shoppers forming a queue (Image: Newsquest)

At 8am, Paralympic track and field medallist Gemma Prescott, who competes in F32 throwing events, cut the ribbon to mark it open for business, accompanied by children from the Hilltop Junior School, in Hill Avenue.

Echo: Star - Gemma PrescottStar - Gemma Prescott (Image: Newsquest)

Tracey Paton, 56, of Ramsden Heath, was the third customer to come out of the store with a bag of shopping.

She said: “It’s lovely, definitely modern and spacious.

“At the moment, we’ve not got the volume of people who will be coming here for the Christmas shop.

Echo: Recommend - Tracey PatonRecommend - Tracey Paton (Image: Newsquest)

“But given how big it is, this store will be able to cope with the big numbers, which the old store couldn’t do.

“The staff were really helpful and full of smiles.”

As time went on, more people were coming out of the store with heavy bags and smiles.

Clifford Estlea, 58, of Wick Lane, added: “It’s much better than the old store because it’s bigger and a lot more modern.

“The staff were great, always smiling and making all of us feel very welcome.

Echo: Smiles - Clifford EstleaSmiles - Clifford Estlea (Image: Newsquest)

“Aldi have done very well with this, and I’m so glad it’s back open.”

At 7am, seven people were already at the door waiting until the clock strikes 8am.

Aktar Hussain, 27, also of Wick Lane, was third to arrive because he missed the store and wanted to be one of the first to step inside.

He said: “The day has come, and it’s nice that we’ll be able to shop at Aldi, in Wickford, once again.

Echo: Third in line - Aktar HussainThird in line - Aktar Hussain (Image: Newsquest)

“I wanted to be one of the first to step inside.”

The store is open 8am to 10pm, Monday to Saturday, 10am to 4pm on Sunday, and 8am to 8pm on Bank Holidays.