Express & Star

Delight for shoppers as Poundland opens at former Wilko store - with familiar faces

Stafford shoppers were quids in as Poundland opened in the town's former Wilko store on Saturday morning – and it was all smiles for the staff as well, many of whom were employed by the homeware chain.

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Staff Sam Taylor, Marie Carolan, manager Emma Leavans, and Jeanette Beckerley

The Willenhall-based company has taken on a number of former Wilko stores, including the one in Broad Street which ceased trading on September 12.

The majority of the ones that lined up for opening this morning worked in the building in its former guise.

Emma Leavans has worked for Poundland for over 14 years in a variety of roles and has been brought into the Stafford operation as interim manager before it is fully re branded in the new year.

She said: "We wanted to get the store stocked up, open and trading again as soon as possible and that's what we have managed to do and shoppers will eventually see the full Poundland brand and products they know and love.

"I am pleased nearly all the staff worked for Wilko, it was an iconic brand and many of them had worked there a long time so it is great we can employ them again and in the same location."

The former Stafford Wilko reopened on Saturday as a new Poundland store

Stafford shopper and amateur radio enthusiast Graham Reay was on one of his first trips out after recovering from broken ribs in hospital, and said he and his wife Kath used to shop at the former Poundland store in the town.

Graham, aged 83, said: "I recognise many of the staff although I don't know most of them by name but it is nice to see familiar faces and their were plenty of conversations going on between them and customers so there is obviously a familiarity there.

"I used to come into Wilkos regularly as I did Poundland when it was in Stafford before. I think it re-located to Cannock originally so it is good to see it back here and certainly I am a big fan of getting out and doing shopping rather than online so I welcome this new opening."

Former Wilko customer Graham Reay was one of the first in the new store

Mark and Heather Rowe live just outside of Stafford town centre and regularly shop there rather than buying online. Heather said she was pleased to see a former store re-open as another one rather than the building lying empty.

She said: "It's good to see as there are a number of other buildings or former shops lying empty such as the old Co-Op. I am also pleased this will be a big Poundland with the full variety of products including the clothing range.

"There is a lot of variety and products in store and we will certainly be using it and look forward to it having the full range of products – it will be good for Stafford."

Mark and Heather Rowe visited the new store

Poundland retail director Darren Kay said: “We’re pleased to be able to re-open so quickly in Stafford – not least because our ambition is to provide job opportunities for former Wilko colleagues.

“Of course, we’re not yet in a position to offer our fullest ranges in the store, but we know customers will appreciate a store that’s open, trading and employing colleagues to one that’s got its shutters closed.

"We’d encourage customers old and new to come and say hello to their new Poundland team who will welcome them with open arms."