IT is almost seven years to the day that John Lewis first opened in York.

It was a long awaited and much longed for addition to the York retail scene.

News today that it is to close has drawn widespread dismay and disappointment among shoppers and Press readers.

But it was all so promising - just before Easter in 2014.

I remember visiting the store for a sneak peak a week before the official opening.

I've dipped into the archive to find that story - and you can read it now.

From The Press, March 29 2014

MAXINE GORDON peers through the keyhole at the new John Lewis in York to find out what is in store for shoppers

DON'T be surprised if the aroma of chocolate greets you as you cross the threshold of John Lewis's new department store at Monks Cross in York.

For inside, nestling next to the beauty hall, fashion floors and homes and interiors products is a café specialising in chocolate.

The Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Bean Cafe will tempt customers with its cocoa-inspired menu, while chocolatiers from the luxury confectionery brand will make small batches of truffles on site. It's only the second cocoa cafe in the John Lewis empire (the first opened in Edinburgh two months ago) and York branch manager Robert Garnish says it is fitting. "It's really exciting that we are opening a Hotel Chocolat Cocoa Bean Cafe in a city like York that has such a chocolate heritage."

There will also be a Place To Eat cafe on the first floor, where customers can take a rest from retail therapy when the store opens on April 10.

Or maybe not.

For shoppers can also take advantage of another novel venture: computer terminals will be placed throughout the store – and in the Place To Eat cafe – enabling them to browse and purchase products from John Lewis online, which can be picked up from the store the following day.

Crowds queue ouside John Lewis at the opening of their new store at the opening of the Vangarde Shopping Park. Picture : Garry Atkinson.

Crowds queue ouside John Lewis at the opening of their new store at the opening of the Vangarde Shopping Park. Picture : Garry Atkinson.

Robert says: "There will be kiosks around the store for browsing online and there will be a tablet bar in Place To Eat where people can have a coffee, or some lunch, and have a browse."

Fashion lovers will be spoilt for choice too, says Robert, with plenty of top brands for men, women and children.

"It's great to offer something really different. One range that has been really well received is our collaboration with Alice Temperley; it's called Somerset and is exclusive to John Lewis."

The company has its own-label collections too, including Kin. "This is more cutting-edge fashion," says Robert. "There are quite a few individual pieces, including in childrenswear."

Fashion brands for women include Jaeger, Gerry Weber, Oui, Hobbs, Jigsaw, Mint Velvet, Whistles, White Stuff, Joules, Toast and Barbour while men can chose from Ted Baker, John Lewis & Co and John Lewis Man, which includes formal wear.

The beauty hall on the ground floor boasts 17 leading brands too, including a Liz Earle concession, which is a first for York. Some of the other major names include Lancome, Dior, Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier and Elemis.

Robert adds: "There will be two beauty rooms where customers can book in for private consultations and treatments."

The new John Lewis store at Vangarde Way in York. Pic: Mike Tipping.

The new John Lewis store at Vangarde Way in York. Pic: Mike Tipping.

Personal stylists will also be on hand to help shoppers tackle their wardrobe dilemmas - offering free consultations as well as a paid-for Style Profile, where, for £125, a personal stylist will give you advice on the perfect shapes, designs, labels and colours for you and help you put together a capsule wardrobe. The fee is redeemable against purchases of £500.

Robert said: "These are really popular and cover everything from helping you choose a specific outfit for a wedding or an interview to something more detailed where the stylist helps you create a new wardrobe."

Such bespoke service extends to home and furnishings too, says Robert. John Lewis's home design service is available in the furnishing fabrics department on the first floor. A team of specially trained advisors offer a bookable and free in-store appointment, lasting up to two hours, as well as one at home, for which there is a £200 charge, redeemable against the cost of any made-to-order products for your new scheme.

Fashion, makeup and homewares at John Lewis in York

Fashion, makeup and homewares at John Lewis in York

Advisors can also help with planning new kitchen and bathrooms and well as fabrics and floor coverings.

Robert, who has worked with John Lewis for 14 years at stores across the country, says he appreciates the excitement surrounding the store opening in York, which has been long anticipated.

Robert said: "I grew up in Yorkshire and know the city really well; coming to York is like coming home."