NORTHWICH’S Woolworths branch, a town centre fixture for almost 83 years, closed its doors for the final time last week.
The Witton Street store, which has been in the same spot since opening on June 4, 1926, was due to close on Friday, January 2, but got a 24-hour stay of execution to offload remaining stock.
Sixty-five employees have lost their jobs along with nearly 27,000 others at 807 branches nationwide, after the company buckled under debts of £385m and was put into administration.
Northwich store manager Robert Tomkys, who has been with Woolworths for 36 years, said on Friday: “After the initial shock of hearing we were closing, everyone’s just got on with the job and got everything ready for the final closure.
“Everyone’s been very professional and done what we had to do and begun looking for new jobs. It’s not nice.”
Administrators Deloitte, the same finance firm trying to find a buyer for Vics’ Marston’s Arena, tried to sell the company, fondly referred to as Woolies, as a going concern, and is now continuing negotiations to sell off individual stores.
The chain is the most high-profile UK High Street casualty of the economic downturn so far.
Town mayor Cllr Bob Robinson said: “It is a tremendous loss to Northwich. We seem to be having a spate of closures here and we need to do something to reverse this trend.
“Woolworths was bang in the centre of town and was a real focal point. It’s very sad.”