THE FIRST customers at a discount food store are set for a big surprise.

Heron Foods, in Tonge Moor Road, opens on Thursday, June 20, on the site of the former Starkie Arms pub and bosses are hoping to launch with a splash.

Opening day will see staff giving away over 100 goodie bags worth over £5 to the first customers that spend £5 in store, alongside money-off coupons that will be featured in special leaflets.

Booklets will also be given out on the first few days containing opening offering coupons which can be redeemed in the first three weeks.

After revealing the opening offers, a representative from Heron Foods said the new shop would also create 17 full and part-time jobs in the area and new store manager, Neil Humes, thanked homeowners in the area for supporting the store.

Mr Humes, who has worked for Heron Foods for more than 20 years, added: “I’d personally like to thank colleagues for their preparation work and the residents who have already shown support.

“I think the store will give the area a huge boost.”

In addition, as part of the opening day celebrations, Bolton charity Hope 4 Homeless UK will be officially unveiling the new store.

The group aims to end homelessness by delivering new services which promote change for people left living on the street. Hope 4 Homeless will be given £250 as a thank you from Heron Foods for welcoming the company into the community.

The Starkie Arms closed suddenly in May 2017 after decades of service and has since been demolished.

Residents were concerned when the pub was boarded up, creating a Facebook page urging the new owners to “save our heritage”.

However, ward councillor Martin Donaghy said he supports the new development and hopes it will benefit people living in the area.

“We were all sorry about the pub which had stood there for so many years but unfortunately like so many pubs these days there wasn’t enough support for it,” he said.

“I wish Heron Foods well in their new endeavour.

“I think it will provide a great service for the local people in the area and give them additional choice. That can only be a good thing.”

The new shop has been constructed in the area which was used as a car park for the pub, with a new parking area set up on the spot where the Starkie Arm’s used to stand.

The Tonge Moor Road location will be the company’s third store in Bolton.

Opening hours will be Monday to Saturday, 8am to 8pm, and Sunday, 9am to 5pm.