Town's new store opens

Just weeks ago life was looking bleak for Woolworths staff across Shropshire and Mid Wales after they lost their jobs with the collapse of the iconic firm.

B&MJust weeks ago life was looking bleak for Woolworths staff across Shropshire and Mid Wales after they lost their jobs with the collapse of the iconic firm.

But now things are on the up for 17 former employees.

They are among 32 people who have been taken on by discount B&M retailer which opened its latest store in the former Woolworths building in High Street, Newport, yesterday.

camera_ss4.gifSee our photo gallery below

For former Woolworths store manager Stephen Prole, who had worked for the firm for 16 years, being made the store manager at B&M has brought to an end one of the worst times in his life.

Mr Prole, 41, of Willenhall, West Midlands, who is married with two sons, said: “We had 30-odd members of staff all looking to me for support and comfort and to say to them ‘I’m sorry, we are going to be closing the store’, it broke my heart.

“It was great to get back on the phone and say to them ‘remember me, I made you a promise’. I had promised them I would get them back into work.”

He added: “The end of November, start of December was perhaps the darkest period of my life.”

Paula Scott, 23, had worked at the town’s Woolworths since she was 16.

The sales floor supervisor, of Meadow View Road, Newport, said of losing her job: “It was upsetting, disbelief that the Woolworths name would be longer.”

She found out a week ago she had got a job with B&M.

“I was happy that I had got a job to go to,” she said.

Pat Rogers, 52, of Kingsland, Wellington, had worked for Woolworths, in Wellington, for almost 20 years. She had never been unemployed and said of being made redundant: “It was almost like venturing into the unknown and was frightening. I was really excited to get the new job.”

Assistant manager Robin Millward, of Freeston Avenue, St Georges, Telford, who started at the Newport store as a temp seven years ago, said he had been “distraught” to lose his job.

The 26-year-old married father-of-one said: “Steve was gracious enough to think about me when he was building his new team at B&M.”

By Lisa Rowley

  • B&M is also looking at opening a store in Frogmore Road, Market Drayton. The move could create up to 35 jobs.

 

Shop assistant Angela Garner outside the new store in Newport

Shop assistant Angela Garner outside the new store in Newport

 

For more Woolworths stories click here 

Shoppers at the new B&M store in Newport

Shoppers at the new B&M store in Newport

For more Woolworths stories click here 

Inside the new B&M store in Newport

Inside the new B&M store in Newport

 

For more Woolworths stories click here 

B&M occupies the site of the former Woolworths store

B&M occupies the site of the fromer Woolworths store

 For more Woolworths stories click here