THE woman who transformed a defunct high street chain store into a thriving independent shop is looking forward to a new era under a new name.

Claire Robertson, whose reopening of Dorchester’s former Woolworths store under the name of Wellworths captured national attention, has welcomed the store’s identity change to the new name of Wellchester as she looks to expand and create an online presence.

Former Woolworths’ Saturday girl Claire opted for the rebranding to free the store from the limitations imposed by former Woolworths owners Shop Direct that would apply if she kept with the Wellworths name.

Claire said no exact location had been earmarked for expansion yet, but it was something the business was considering, and the online presence was very close to becoming a reality.

She said: “It will be good to get the name changed and start moving forward.

“We have been looking to expand but we haven’t got anywhere in mind yet and the other thing is our website – we are hoping if all goes to plan that we will have a website, albeit not selling but up and running, by Friday – which will be great.”

Wellchester will be officially opened on Friday, with a host of in-store promotions to mark the occasion and the unveiling of the new shop sign.

Claire said Wellworths had become an established name in its two-and-a-half year history and was a major symbol of success in an otherwise gloomy time for much of the economy.

However, she said she was focusing on the new opportunities the name change will bring and that the name Wellchester would see the businesses’ birthplace of Dorchester remembered as it starts to expand.

She said: “I just didn’t want to worry about having a fight with anyone and wanted to move on.

“We are constantly changing already and bringing in new ranges all the time, so nothing is going to change there.

“Obviously, we have also got Christmas coming up and I hope it’s going to be a busy time for us.”

Claire added: “The first two and a half years have seen the store become a well-established Dorch-ester business and continue to support the local community by listening to what they want and trying to supply their changing needs.

“Through tough trading times the team at Wellworths have worked extremely hard to ensure the business is moving forward and now is the time to see that the business flourish’s under the new name.”