Page last updated at 15:51 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

Ex-Woolworths boss reopens store

Claire Robertson
Wellworths boss Claire Robertson was a Saturday girl at Woolworths

The manager of a Dorset Woolworths which closed when the firm collapsed is to re-open the shop she worked for under the new name Wellworths.

Claire Robertson, 34, who worked for the High Street chain for 18 years, plans to reopen the doors to its building in Dorchester in March.

Ms Robertson began her "Woolies" career as a Saturday girl in Somerset.

Customers will still be able to visit a pick 'n' mix counter. Ms Robertson said the building "was her second home".

Woolworths went into administration last November and its more than 800 stores closed after struggling with debts of 385m.

I remember as a Saturday girl filling the pick'n'mix counters
Claire Robertson

Ms Roberston described the closure as "very sad".

"The idea was very easy [because] Dorchester's Woolworths was a successful store," she said.

"The getting it on to a business plan and convincing somebody that it was a good idea was slightly more difficult."

Economic downturn

She added that she hoped to "get back Woolworths customers and attract some new ones as well".

Patty Ball and Terri Edwards, who worked for their former boss in the town's Woolworths shop and could not find another job when it shut, told BBC News: "We can't wait [until it opens] - our little family back together again."

Ms Roberston has hired the same team who worked for her before.

Acknowledging the economic climate, she said: "It would be silly not to think in this time opening a new retail outlet is not going to be difficult but people out there need to buy goods at good value.

"We have already sourced out pick 'n' mix - I remember as a Saturday girl filling the pick n' mix counters - again, it has been part of my life. That building feels like my second home."

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