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Budgens Wooler
The development of the 400th Budgens store

The Transformation of Wooler: A Story of Determination and Vision

The historic stone-built town of Wooler is nestled at the foothills of the Cheviot Hills and set within the beautiful Northumberland National Park. A walker’s paradise, the hills around Wooler are scattered with ancient hillforts, waterfalls and an abundance of wildlife including red squirrels, deer and birds of prey. The town has a population of around 3000 which increases significantly in the summer months because of the local caravan park, hotels and hostels.

Local businessman Graeme Wilson who runs Glendale Engineering in Wooler, spotted an opportunity. An empty building that used to house a garden centre sat alongside Wooler Water with ample potential parking. The nearest supermarket is currently 18 miles away and the local coop is small with limited parking. Graeme and his nephew Richard Wilson along with business partner Paul McKenna had never worked in retail or owned a store before – but were confident they could make it work.

As you can see from the images, the building wasn’t ready to be a store – the team had to gut the original building, add dividing walls, build a new floor and rewire the electrics throughout. Richard described the process as exciting – but a stressful time with so much going on. As is usual with a project like this there were deadlines and the team worked hard to get the store ready for opening.

The store is managed by store manager Tristan Jeffrey who is a family friend chosen for his outgoing personality and trustworthiness. Tristan already co-owns a business, Go Electric hiring electric bikes and were recently featured on BBC’s series Robson Green’s Weekend Escapes. Tristan has no previous retail experience but brings plenty of enthusiasm and a willingness to learn and has recruited a vibrant and experienced team.

RDM Graham Tinkler was there to help them through some of the tricky problems – including placing Tristan for training in a store in Sandyford and has been at the end of the phone throughout the entire project.

The store opened on 16th June to a busy crowd and a great deal of interest from the local residents who welcome having a new store to add a little competition to the area.

Stay tuned for our next update – we have loads of images to share of the store completely fitted out and you’re sure to pick up some good tips.

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