Lamenting Woolies

Just got back from town, daring to feel slightly excited by what is a big happening in Teignmouth. Forget Muse playing our seafront backalong, what really concerns us Teignmothians is the collapse of Woolworth’s. It was a tragic day its doors closed forever. A friend of my eldest somehow managed to blag the ‘W’ from the workmen deconstructing our favourite shop as a memento. She has it in her bedroom, I believe, and I am very envious.

What could ever replace Woolworth’s, we wondered and discussed in those bleak winter months of 2008/09. We allowed ourselves some wayout daydreams. Maybe it would be a decent clothes shop, or a gaming/music/DVD store. A toyshop. A specialist shop like Milletts which we also lost many moons ago. Something for the kids, the young people, those of us who feel we have enough pound shops.

What did we get? Carpet Right. Despite already having at least  three independent carpet shops in our town,  the councillors seemed to think a Carpet Right would enocurage visitors, even though there are several Carpet Rights in the area, some of which have free parking. (Free parking barely exists in our town, and the lack of day trippers reflects this.) And has it been a success? Well, whenever I’ve walked past, the manager is all alone surrounded by his cheap carpet, playing what I can only presume is Solitaire on his computer.

Carpet Right has gone. And there are rumours as to what will replace it. The one I favour is Wilkinson’s as that is the closest to Woolies we can get. We just walked past the shop and it is being totally gutted and the space looks huge. I really really hope that the council will have got it right this time and had a bit of vision for our fantastic town.

I love my town. I grew up here, moved away at 18 and hankered after it for the following twenty years until I moved back here, dragging my family with me. The best move we ever made. But this lovely, proper Devon town, with its lack of second homes and money, with its down-to-earth people and beautiful beaches, with Brunel’s stunning railway that crashes along the red coast, and renowned jazz and folk festivals, artists, musicans and of course its fab cafes where you can get anything from builders tea to a skinny splitshot latte, … well, we could do even better.

Let’s just hope that whatever the shop, it will have pick’n’mix.

I’ll keep you posted.


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