ANDOVER’S Vodafone branch is about to get more local after the recent purchase of the franchise.

A small Hampshire-based start-up recently took on the store, as well as those in Salisbury in Winchester to create a regional ‘cluster’, under Vodafone’s partner agent programme.

New franchise owner, Chris Hayford says he’s excited for the future while store manager, Chris Brown – who has been living in Andover for the last five years – says he’s looking forward to better serving the local community.

The shop, which will continue to operate from its existing location, just outside the Chantry Centre and opposite the Guildhall, was formally reopened last Wednesday by borough council leader, Councillor Phil North.

Store manager Chris said he and his staff are keen to get involved with the community as much as possible and had been planning engagement events which were, unfortunately, postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He told the Advertiser: “We’re going to be playing a big part in the local community with trying to do some events in the Chantry Centre. We were going to have a tech event called Tech Fest – everyone was on board, it was just that Covid hit.”

Chris’ hopes had been to welcome people along to techie tutorials where residents of all ages could learn more about the latest gizmos and gadgets.

And he also has plans to reach out to the town’s armed forces contingent, potentially in conjunction with the Salisbury franchise which they have also taken over, as well as students from Andover College.

Chris added: “We are going to go out to the local community and then hopefully bring people together.

“I think that’s really important, as a lot of people have learned now – staying connected is so important.”

He is also hoping to bring a more familiar atmosphere to the shop – once coronavirus restrictions allow.

“We’re putting more bodies in the shop when the restrictions allow so we can create more of an atmosphere. It will look the same but its going to be warmer, more welcoming.”

Franchise owner Chris Hayford says he’s also looking forward to getting started and getting involved with the community.

“Part of a dream was to start my own business,” he told the Advertiser, “and it made perfect sense to partner with Vodafone as I felt their brand values echoed many of my own.

“They are originally a great British start up, spiralling out from Newbury, which I loved the idea of being an extension of and being part of. It’s exciting times and I look forward to serving and supporting the local community and military, exercising being part of the military covenant across Winchester, Andover and Salisbury.

“Working with Vodafone has given me the opportunity to live my dream and I look forward to seeing and serving our customers in store.

“The future’s exciting and we are ready.”