MARKET town traders are delighted after a 112-year-old North Yorkshire family business has been saved from closure – saving 14 jobs and keeping its historic brand name on the high street.
Kitchenware and gift store Woollons and Harwood announced in early January that it would close its stores in Thirsk and Helmsley at Easter after a series of thefts last year left the trader in an impossible position.
Managing director Paul Woollons said: “A couple called Chris and Pauline Moran from Boroughbridge Hardware are going to take over the Thirsk store and keep all the staff on.
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“It will continue to run as Woollons and Harwood."
Mr Woollons said he had also had fresh interest in the Helmsley shop and was optimistic a buyer for that store could also be found.
Chairman of Thirsk and District Business Association Guy Baragwanath said: “We are very happy Woollons and Harwood managed to find a buyer because it is a flagship store in Thirsk.
“I have spoken to Paul Woollons and he said they would be keeping the name and all the staff which is great news.
“It would have been a difficult unit to fill – it is a large store and an unusual shape so it would not have been suitable for some businesses to take on.
“The fact is that the press have got involved just goes to show what it means to people in this area – the name is well known so it is great it will still trade under that name.”
He added: “Local people and businesses are delighted the store has been saved – full credit to him for actively searching for a buyer and not giving up.”
Mayor of Thirsk Cynthia Hesmondhalgh said: “It is fantastic news.
“It is a great relief for the town because it is such a unique store and is a tourist attraction really.”
Stock worth about £9,000 had been stolen in raids last year.
Thieves stole about £1,000 of Crown Derby pottery from the Helmsley store in February last year, and Mr Woollons said the internet business was destroyed when stock worth about £8,000 was stolen in two raids on the Malton warehouse last summer.