FEW things in York were more eagerly awaited than the opening of the city's first John Lewis store in April 2014.

There had been speculation for years that York would acquire a John Lewis - the question had been, where?

That piece of the puzzle was solved with the construction of the £90m Vangarde shopping park at Monks Cross on the edge of the city.

The Vangarde development boasted it would bring 1,000 new jobs and provide significant funding for the new 6,000-seater Community Stadium which would be the new home for York's professional football and rugby teams.

York Press: John Lewis York - under constructionJohn Lewis York - under construction

The Vangarde development secured outline planning permission from City of York Council in July 2012. Joining John Lewis at the site would be Next and a flagship Marks and Spencer’s store.

At this point, it was expected that Vangarde would bring a £12m annual boost to the city’s economy and allow York to cement itself as a major retail destination in Yorkshire following the opening of Trinity Quarter in Leeds.

Excitement was palpable as John Lewis opened its doors in April 2014.

Long queues snaked outside ahead of the doors opening - and the first customer, Ruth Holmes of Earswick, was greeted with a bouquet.

York Press: Celebrations as John Lewis York opens in April 2014Celebrations as John Lewis York opens in April 2014

Our Press photographer was there to capture the moment - and take images of delighted staff crammed onto elevators in the plush new store.

Customers were able to enjoy not just a shopping experience, but sample food and drink at the store cafe and chocolate and cocoa bar, run by Hotel Chocolat.

The Press reported on many happy occasions at the store over the years - from reader makeovers, competition wins, and even when staff received their British Sign Language certificates.

York Press: Treats from the Hotel Chocolate cafe at John Lewis YorkTreats from the Hotel Chocolate cafe at John Lewis York

But cheers turned to tears when it was announced last year that the store was to close.

Andy Simpson, from Heslington, York, started a petition to try to save John Lewis York which attracted 1,100 signatories within 24 hours and quickly topped 5,500 signatures. It was unsuccessful.

This week, The Press announced that the lease for the giant store is now on the market. The John Lewis Partnership has appointed Savills to market the former John Lewis department store.

A new chapter for the site awaits.