THE former Homebase store at the Braidfute Retail Park is to open next month, as the latest store in the B&M empire.
And customers may find a lot of friendly faces among the staff, as B&M have taken on many of the former Homebase employees and even its weekend students.
“We came and met them before Homebase closed,” said Eleanor Devoy, the manager of the new store. “Most of them have come across with us.
“This was their store, so we made first offer to the Homebase employees. Some of them had worked with Homebase for a long time.”
The new store will employ at least 50 people full and part-time, and probably as many as 60.
The B&M store will open on July 11, and Eleanor expects that its expanded range will reinvigorate the whole Braidfute Retail Park by bringing more shoppers up to it.
“We are going to do everything Homebase did – paint, wallpaper, flooring and so on – and bring our own ‘hero’ departments along such as petfood and food,” she said.
“Groceries, pet and health and beauty items bring daily footfall, people in every day, and hopefully that will help regenerate the whole retail park and make it a bit busier.
“Hopefully it will have a positive impact on the other retailers as well. Most of these stores don’t sell items that people shop for every day. They don’t carry the everyday essentials we carry, like health and beauty products, food and pet goods.”
The Homebase unit, which closed in May, was the largest in the retail park, the equivalent of a double-sized unit, and with the additional garden centre area in the corner. That too will be reopening under B&M.