Wellworths welcomes 100,000th shopper

TILL WE MEEET AGAIN: Wellworths’ 100,000th customer Heather Ikin and her daughter Hannah with store manager Claire Robertson

TILL WE MEEET AGAIN: Wellworths’ 100,000th customer Heather Ikin and her daughter Hannah with store manager Claire Robertson

First published in News Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

THE wonder of Wellworths is still going strong as the store welcomed the 100,000th customer to the checkout.

Claire Robertson’s high street revolution at the former Woolworths store in Dorchester has proved a runaway success since it opened in March.

Now, just three months after DJ Chris Evans opened the doors to the South Street store, mum Heather Ikin has become the 100,000th person to sign up to Claire’s bold vision.

Mrs Ikin and her three-year-old daughter Hannah popped into the store to spend some of the youngster’s pocket money on an art and crafts set and were stunned to find out they were the landmark customers.

Miss Robertson presented mother and daughter with two large bags of Wellworths goodies as well as a £30 voucher and a bunch of flowers.

Mrs Ikin, 38, from Weymouth, said she was impressed by what Miss Robertson had done with the shop.

She said: “We used to come in here when it was Woolworths. It’s such a lovely store, it’s really nice and spacious.

“We were going up to Dorset County Hospital and we came up early specifically to come in here. Hannah wanted to spend some of her pocket money.”

Miss Robertson said the store’s success had exceeded all expectations and she was thrilled to reach the landmark figure of 100,000 customers so quickly.

She said: “We never knew how quickly we would get through 100,000 customers and we realised at three months that we were close.

“We were really pleased to get there this quickly.

“We have had a lot of publicity but it’s hard in this economic climate to make sure everything clicks.

“It’s been hard work and there have been a few sleepless nights but I’m really enjoying it.”

Miss Robertson said she had been tracking the figures on a computer that logs all transactions at the store and was keen to give the lucky 100,000th customer something to celebrate.

She said: “It’s nice to celebrate it and give something back to the customers bec-ause that’s what we’re about.”

Miss Robertson said Wellworths was now becoming a tourist destination for holidaymakers heading down to Dorset during the summer.

She said the store had now brought out its own range of mugs and magnets to offer the Wellworths tourists a souvenir to remember their visit.

Miss Robertson added that she was delighted to see that the whole of Dorchester was benefiting from Wellworths’ success.

Comments (8)

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12:30pm Tue 23 Jun 09

I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY DON'T LIKE THE NEW ECHO WEBSITE says...

Well done for doing this, but given the amount of publicity (and funding from the landlord) she couldn't help but succeed.

She was in a very fortunate position- had I known the landlord and been able to contact him (as she was), I would have certainly done the same thing- but the end results would have been better.

Employing that donut from Portland as a "Buyer" was suicidal (is he still there, with his daft picture frames?). I watched the documentary, and whilst the shop was in utter chaos, he was upstairs watching videos on YouTube. He was also late on a number of occasions, including the opening day. His love of picture frames was TOTALLY mis-guided, and dedicating so much valuable space was poor managment. Not giving anyone else keys was madness as well- OK, she couldn't predict the snow, but what if her car broke down on the A37 and her phone didn't work? If someone else had shop keys, at least they could have carried on with the merchandising.

Not stocking childrens clothing, when there is huge demand locally with little/no competition just does not make sense. Also, there should be a range of CD's and DVD's stocked- agin, with little/ no High Street competition of note (Smiths is very expensive).

Overall, she has done well, but I do feel that it is more by luck than judgment. I cannot see it being a sustainable business- once the novelty of it being Wellworths wears thin, they may begin to struggle.

I don't want them to fail- but I do think that the store is not performing to it's maximum potential. Childrens clothing and CD's/DVD's would add in the region of £1500-2000 per week (if the right range is stocked and availability is good).
Well done for doing this, but given the amount of publicity (and funding from the landlord) she couldn't help but succeed. She was in a very fortunate position- had I known the landlord and been able to contact him (as she was), I would have certainly done the same thing- but the end results would have been better. Employing that donut from Portland as a "Buyer" was suicidal (is he still there, with his daft picture frames?). I watched the documentary, and whilst the shop was in utter chaos, he was upstairs watching videos on YouTube. He was also late on a number of occasions, including the opening day. His love of picture frames was TOTALLY mis-guided, and dedicating so much valuable space was poor managment. Not giving anyone else keys was madness as well- OK, she couldn't predict the snow, but what if her car broke down on the A37 and her phone didn't work? If someone else had shop keys, at least they could have carried on with the merchandising. Not stocking childrens clothing, when there is huge demand locally with little/no competition just does not make sense. Also, there should be a range of CD's and DVD's stocked- agin, with little/ no High Street competition of note (Smiths is very expensive). Overall, she has done well, but I do feel that it is more by luck than judgment. I cannot see it being a sustainable business- once the novelty of it being Wellworths wears thin, they may begin to struggle. I don't want them to fail- but I do think that the store is not performing to it's maximum potential. Childrens clothing and CD's/DVD's would add in the region of £1500-2000 per week (if the right range is stocked and availability is good). I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY DON'T LIKE THE NEW ECHO WEBSITE
  • Score: 0

1:48pm Tue 23 Jun 09

CoogarUK.com says...

Nice to see that my advice re stocking of DVDs & CDs was eventually heeded. What a pity the offer is so small and the prices so high.
Nice to see that my advice re stocking of DVDs & CDs was eventually heeded. What a pity the offer is so small and the prices so high. CoogarUK.com
  • Score: 0

2:40pm Tue 23 Jun 09

Hooray Henry says...

What an essential resource the Dorset Echo's website must be to anyone in business or public life.

Whatever the undertaking, and however successful it may appear to be, there are always people like I Really Really on hand who are able to offer priceless advice, via the Echo website, about how it could be done immeasurably better.

Invaluable.
What an essential resource the Dorset Echo's website must be to anyone in business or public life. Whatever the undertaking, and however successful it may appear to be, there are always people like I Really Really on hand who are able to offer priceless advice, via the Echo website, about how it could be done immeasurably better. Invaluable. Hooray Henry
  • Score: 0

9:17pm Tue 23 Jun 09

cookean says...

Make sure to check back next week when I REALLY REALLY will be giving invaluable advice to Tom Singh on just how New Look have missed a trick and could do better!!!
Make sure to check back next week when I REALLY REALLY will be giving invaluable advice to Tom Singh on just how New Look have missed a trick and could do better!!! cookean
  • Score: 0

10:41am Wed 24 Jun 09

retailerXXX says...

Oh dear , Mr I really, really is still sitting on his backside talking about it while Miss Robertson gets up and gets on with it. How hard is it to contact a landlord? Yes she was already "on the inside" as she worked there for Woolworths, but thats why she can seperate the good and the bad ideas from her experiences. Childrens clothing was a huge drain on Wooloworths stockholding and as for frames, just see how many customers have one in their hand.
Oh dear , Mr I really, really is still sitting on his backside talking about it while Miss Robertson gets up and gets on with it. How hard is it to contact a landlord? Yes she was already "on the inside" as she worked there for Woolworths, but thats why she can seperate the good and the bad ideas from her experiences. Childrens clothing was a huge drain on Wooloworths stockholding and as for frames, just see how many customers have one in their hand. retailerXXX
  • Score: 0

10:43am Wed 24 Jun 09

Bilious says...

How many more stories are we going to get about this shop? I expect many retailers would like this type of continue publicity.I await story about 200,000 customer.
How many more stories are we going to get about this shop? I expect many retailers would like this type of continue publicity.I await story about 200,000 customer. Bilious
  • Score: 0

4:44pm Thu 25 Jun 09

The Old Rec says...

Well done to Claire and her team, a good effort. Are you ready to expand to Weymouth yet, I know just the place tucked away between Debenhams and the cinema . . .or the choice of a dozen other locations !
Well done to Claire and her team, a good effort. Are you ready to expand to Weymouth yet, I know just the place tucked away between Debenhams and the cinema . . .or the choice of a dozen other locations ! The Old Rec
  • Score: 0

12:15pm Fri 26 Jun 09

I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY DON'T LIKE THE NEW ECHO WEBSITE says...

Woolworths is now online (Shop Direct Home Shopping bought the brand) and they are selling clothes.

Can't see any picture frames on there.

Maybe they are stupid like me and don't realise the very idea of selling a product that there is a lot of demand for (with limited competition) is a crazy idea.

Regarding the issue of stocking childrens clothing affecting cashflow, this would be true across hundreds of stores, but on an individual store basis, this would not be a problem (providing it was managed well, and the buyer could type all the EAN's into the computer and press "save" (quite difficult, according to the documentary).

Oh, and I do have suggestions for Tom Singh at New Look that would enhance his sales- stock menswear in more stores.
Woolworths is now online (Shop Direct Home Shopping bought the brand) and they are selling clothes. Can't see any picture frames on there. Maybe they are stupid like me and don't realise the very idea of selling a product that there is a lot of demand for (with limited competition) is a crazy idea. Regarding the issue of stocking childrens clothing affecting cashflow, this would be true across hundreds of stores, but on an individual store basis, this would not be a problem (providing it was managed well, and the buyer could type all the EAN's into the computer and press "save" (quite difficult, according to the documentary). Oh, and I do have suggestions for Tom Singh at New Look that would enhance his sales- stock menswear in more stores. I REALLY REALLY REALLY REALLY DON'T LIKE THE NEW ECHO WEBSITE
  • Score: 0

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