Wednesday, 11 March 2009

The Wonder of Wellies

Chris Evans and Claire Robertson by the bulbs! on TwitPic
Television and radio star Chris Evans was in my neck of the woods today, launching the new Wellworths store in Dorchester. There was a celebratory feel and chaos at the pick' n' mix as the shop opened in a blaze of publicity. Wellworths is where the old Woolworths store used to be. And it opened thanks to the bravery of former Woolworths manager Claire Robertson, who has taken over the shop and is running it with her old colleagues, who would otherwise be out of a job.
Long after Chris Evans left, heading for London to do his drivetime radio show, the shop and indeed the town was heaving. Tills were ringing, there were smiling faces among the stressed ones and, in true Woolworths-style, the Easter eggs were on the shelf next to gardening products.

Actually, what was on the shelves seemed very Woolworths-like. But Claire says she'll stock whatever the public wants to buy. And she is keen to keep things local if she can. Particularly impressive was the massive amount of open floor space at the front of the shop, making getting in and out so much easier, and the height of the shelves. You can now see from one end of the store to the other. You don't feel claustrophobic any more.

So it's fingers crossed that all goes well once the hullabaloo dies down. It's amazing to think that only a month or so ago, customers were moaning that the prices were too high on the last day of the Woolworths sale. Few of them cared about people's livelihoods. Today they were rejoicing. What a difference a few days (and Chris Evans) makes.

Good luck Wellworths.

That's about it
Love Maddie x


  1. I hope they do well, too. I have read a little about what she is trying achieve and it takes guts in this climate. Plus, no one does pick-n-mix like Woollies so lets hope Wellies can do the same!

  2. I saw this on TV and it's good to hear about local initiative. If they've sorted out the store layout and have motivated and enthusiastic staff, they've solved half of the problems Woolworths had. The other 50% is finding some way to differentiate themselves from other, cheaper, stores.

  3. Hi Maddie. I heard about this on the radio and think it's great. Good luck to her I say x

  4. Isn't it amazing how whenever Woollies is mentioned, so is PICK AND MIX!! Nobody does it better, apparently.. I seem to remember Tesco doing it, but they stopped, and it wasn't as good as W's anyway. But I saw the news report about the store opening, and thought how brave and far-sighted that woman was.. trust it to be a woman eh ladies? I hope she has continued success and this wasn't a one day wonder.

  5. I wish her all the best too. Catch up with you soon, I'm back in the sun :) xx

  6. Hey what a great shop. I really do hope i goes well. I agree with the PFG must have been a woman!
    Go girl!

  7. Wellies done! I think this is great - hope it succeeds in the long term and no reason why not.

  8. Hears about this - what great news. Good luck to them.

  9. Never had 'pick-n-mix' in my life - am I missing something?

  10. No idea what Pick-n-mix is, but the new store sounds like a wonderful scheme. Courageous woman that Claire Robertson is!


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