10 years since Woolies left high street
In recent years, Ashford has lost a huge cross-section of both independent traders and national chains from its shopping portfolio.
For the independents it’s the rising overheads including busi- ness rates which cause problems, but the biggest killer of some of our well-known and much-loved national institutions has been substantial debt.
One of the first institutions to fall in the town was Woolworths at no 82-86 High Street which closed 10 years ago in December 2008.
It’s still so hard to believe that a national name that had been around for a lifetime could become victim of what has now become an unfortunate trend.
In Woolworths’ case, it had been in the town since the 1930s and even extended its store in 1955 when business was booming.
It was a sad day when Woolies (as it was affectionately known) departed the town.
The chain was part of our lives – if you didn’t go in there for Pic’n’Mix, you would go in there for Christmas decorations or the latest single.
After Woolworths shut up shop in Ashford on New Year’s Eve in 2008, the store reopened as a 99p Store in 2009, but became Poundland in 2016 when the 99p Store business was taken over.
The shop sat empty for a few months when Poundland closed in July 2017, but reopened as homeware giant B&M in November that year.
Nobody, though, can match up to the lifelong impression and love for Woolworths, and it is probable that no one ever will.
This week’s Remember When looks back at the imminent closure of Woolworths in December 2008 where pictures show the last six days of trading within the much familiar and much missed store. Did you work for Woolworths? Have you any memories with pictures that you would be willing to share with readers?
Please get in touch using the details below.
Do you have any photographs or slides of old Ashford you would be willing to loan me to enable them to be scanned for possible feature in the Kentish Express?
Please don’t delay, feel free to get in touch.
Write to me: Steve Salter, Kentish Express Remember When, Unit 4, Park Mall Shopping Centre, Ashford, Kent, TN24 8RY.
Email me: rememberwhen_ [email protected]mail.co.uk
Follow me on Twitter: @SteveKMAshford or call the Kentish Express office on 01233 623232.
The huge shop was taken over by 99p Store, and more recently Poundland, before B&M Bargains gutted the store completely and refurbished the whole building
The once familiar store of Woolworths at no 82-86 High Street is seen just six days before the chain departed the town for good
Shelves lay bare after huge reductions on store stock attract both bargain hunters and those wanting a piece of Woolworths history