Former Chesterfield Co-op staff help mark opening of new Premier Inn
People who worked at Chesterfield's former Co-op department store have helped to mark the opening of the town's new Premier Inn.
Jomast Developments has spent the last year transforming the former department store on Elder Way into the 92-bed hotel over the first and second floors as part of a multi-million pound project.
SEE AND READ MORE: Video shows it's like inside Chesterfield's new Premier Inn
First to sample the hotel were some of the Co-op's former workers, who were invited to stay over free of charge the night ahead of opening on Thursday.
Former Co-op manager Mike Harrington, 71, from Linacre Woods worked at the Co-op for 40 years, having started at just 16-years-old.
Mike, who even met his wife who was a Co-op hairdresser in the store, was thrilled to see the changes.
He said: "Everyone was worried the Co-op building would be knocked down.
"It is difficult to describe what people felt about the building - we loved it, it was part and parcel of all of us.
"All the Co-op workers kept in touch and we were thrilled to hear it would be re-developed.
"The redevelopment is a wonderful job - so bright, clean and fresh - it's just stunning.
"Getting the chance to visit again, see the building have a new lease of life and meet up with old friends - some of whom we haven't seen in 20 years - is just fantastic.
"We can't thank Premier Inn enough - their team have been incredibly welcoming and it has been lovely to make new connections and meet the people working here.
"I'll definitely be popping back in for dinner and I never thought that I would become a regular of the place I used to work."
Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins, who was among those to attend an event on Friday to mark the opening of the hotel, said: "I am thrilled that Premier Inn have shown confidence in our town.
"People across Chesterfield will be pleased to see this iconic building being put to an exciting new use in a way that also strengthens the tourism and dining offer.
"This is another example of the confidence that investors have in local people and the environment that we have here in Chesterfield.
"I also welcome the new jobs and opportunities that this has created and I am delighted to be declaring this hotel open for business."
Hotel manager Omar Khan added: "We couldn't be more thrilled to check-in to Chesterfield.
"Our glorious new Premier Inn hotel is in a beloved building right in the heart of town and through the attraction of guests throughout the year and the creation of 35 new local jobs, we are really looking forward to playing our part in Chesterfield’s ongoing success."