Back in the 1930’s one iconic sign of the great depression in Jarrow was that the town’s Woolworths couldn’t stay open. Now that’s in danger of happening to us all, as Woolworths calls in the receivers — bad news for 30,000 staff, suppliers, and even competitors who may well find their businesses hit by the dumping of a large amount of liquidation stock on the market in the run-up to Christmas. Of course times have moved on, and Woolworth’s, like the rest of the high street, was in big trouble from out of town competition before ever the credit crunch came along. Ironically, Woolworth’s original winning formula was based on providing a comprehensive range of everyday practical goods conveniently under one roof — exactly the battleground on which it has been beaten by today’s out-of-town supermarkets.
All the same, Woolies’ demise after 99 years marks the end of a much-loved national institution. We Brits excoriate those national institutions we love best. Here, from earlier and kinder days, is affectionate comment from Brummy legend Jasper Carrott:
As the circle of businesses affected by the current troubles expands, one or two colleagues have discussed with me positive practical attempts to offer love, prayer and personal support to people in the broader communities they serve who may be feeling isolated and vulnerable. I’m more than happy to know of good practice. Can we spread ideas around?