10 years since Woolies left high street

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - NEWS -

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

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