Published on 22 - April - 2009
Independent to revive former Woolworths siteDorset-based business will relocate to ex-Woolies unit.
Derek and Julie Hancock outside their current premises
An expanding independent hardware retailer will bring a vacant former Woolworths store back to life next month.
Nixon's Hardware has already taken possession of the premises in Swanage, Dorset and hopes to open the doors in mid May. The former Woolworths unit, vacant since the chain went bust at the end of 2008 is three times the size of the current store, making it exactly what Nixon's was looking for.
Said owner Derek Hancock: "For the last couple of years we've been looking for larger premises or even split units - one for hardware, one for housewares. With the sad demise of Woolworths, the estate agent got in touch asking us if we wanted to take over the site. It was perfect for us."
Nixon's business has seen an improvement since Woolworths closed and Mr Hancock feels the new site will benefit his customers. "Hopefully, we will be able to display our homeware a bit better than at the moment and add a few more lines," he says.
Nixon's Hardware has been trading at its current location since 1990 and Mr Hancock and his wife Julie purchased it in 2000. The current building actually abuts the former Woolworths, meaning that upheaval during the move will be kept to a minimum.
Given the size of the new premises, Nixon's has already taken on one new part-time staff member and is looking for another two. Existing staff have already agreed to take on additional hours, while Mr and Mrs Hancock will be joined over the summer by their niece as additional cover.
The new shop will also have a new name, becoming Nixon's Home Hardware to reflect its status as a corporate member of dealer-owned buying group Home Hardware Southwest. "Home Hardware was already supplying 70% of our stock and we spoke to other members and they have all been impressed by the benefits of corporate membership, so we decided to go all the way," said Mr Hancock.
Notices have already gone up in the windows of the former Woolworths and, according to Mr Hancock, he has already received a lot of positive feedback. "People have been coming up to us and saying how pleased they are that a local business will be taking on the site."
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