Bosses at a new multi-million pound superstore today hailed it as a huge boost for a Black Country town.
Preparations are under way to reopen the former Hooty’s store at the Longacres Industrial Estate in Willenhall.
Home furnishing chain The Range has taken over the outlet which will be opened by celebrity interior designer Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen tomorrow.
Deputy manager Diane Drury worked at Hooty’s for 23 years having started on the shop floor and said she is pleased she will help manage the new store.
She said: “When Hooty’s closed down a lot of people were upset because it had been in Willenhall for around 25 years which is such a long time.
“All of the staff were worried about their jobs and what they would do next when the takeover was announced but when we were told that we would be moving over to The Range we were delighted.
“It’s a huge boost for area because The Range is completely different and it’s a lot bigger and brighter.
“A lot of hard work has gone in to making sure it is ready on time for the launch and some of the staff haven’t taken a day off because they want to make it a success.”
Hooty’s closed in December after 50 years of trading.
Around 95 staff who worked at the store have been able to keep their jobs and the company will recruit a further 30 temporary staff over the coming months.
But is has been claimed dozens of workers were made redundant during the takeover.
Bosses said some roles did not exist or were not available at the store leading to redundancies.
Vicky Webb worked for Hooty’s for more than 14 years before the takeover and said she was initially worried about losing her job. She said: “It was a really worrying time because nobody knew what was going to happen.
“Thankfully I was able to stay on and I am really looking forward to seeing the public’s reaction.”
The 70,000 sq ft site is the 88th Range store in the UK and the third to open this year. It stocks more than 65,000 products and has a garden shop, pets corner and a cafe.
Its car park has been resurfaced and has spaces for up to 250 vehicles.
Miss Drury added: “We are all excited and a little nervous about the opening but I am sure it will be a success.”Subscribe to our Newsletter