A date with our city's destiny
CIRCLE it on your calendar, mark it in your diary, punch it in your phone – Friday, October 12, the day the new John Lewis store will open its doors to customers for the first time.
There will be people who cant understand what all the fuss is about. It's just another shop opening, right?
Actually, wrong. It's more than just 'a shop'.
The new John Lewis store will act as a magnet for shoppers who may very well be beyond Exeter's current grasp.
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Its opening will play a big part in shifting Exeter from being somewhere people might consider alongside other alternatives as an appropriate place to spend their money to the outstanding candidate.
And, critically, those shoppers won't all just be spending their money in John Lewis. The spend will be spread around, as those happy visitors realise what else the city has to offer.
The story doesn't start or end with John Lewis, however. As we report today in the second of our Proud to be Exeter series of features on the city's economic successes, the retail scene is enjoying a pretty good time already.
Princesshay has been a roaring success since its opening.
Those who had the vision and resilience to drive that scheme through can take much of the credit when John Lewis's doors finally open.
Without Princesshay, which changed the way Exeter is perceived as a shopping destination, it's hard to believe there would be a John Lewis.
And the work goes on. There is a push to capitalise on the presence of a retailer which will draw people with bulging wallets and purses from far and wide.
The broad thrust of the proposed bus station redevelopment is to provide an environment which encourages visitors and shoppers to stay in our city for longer, not just to pop in to the new store for an hour then head home.
October 12 marks another milestone in Exeter's transformation. It will mark the culmination of a lot of time, effort, vision, creativity, problem solving, persuasion and sheer bloody-mindedness by many people over many years. The store deserves to be a success, and we're sure it will be. After all, if John Lewis is thriving, Exeter will be thriving too.