'Iconic' Boots in Ilford to close after 40 years and move further up High Road
PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 October 2019 | UPDATED: 12:12 11 October 2019
One of Ilford's Boots stores is set to close after more than 40 years in the town centre.
The "huge, iconic building" at 177-185 High Road first opened in 1977 and will close on November 26. A new bigger store will open further up the road.
Six members of staff have worked in the building for more than 30 years and one has been there since it opened.
Employee Karen Janes told the Recorder about the history of the building.
"A complete skull of a mammoth discovered in 1860 was first found at the site on which our store stands," she said. "Remains can be seen in the Natural History Museum and other remains in the Redbridge Museum."
Karen also reeled off the number of stars and legends who have visited over the years, from Trevor Sorbie, the celebrity hairdresser, to June Brown, who plays Dot Cotton in EastEnders.
Speaking of the store closure, Karen said: "It will be a sad day for us.
"We've seen faces come and go. We've also got some very loyal customers who have visited our store for years who I hope will join us at our new store down the road.
"It's the end of an era for myself and my colleagues, but I guess as we close a door to the past we open a new door to the future."
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Luckily, it's not the end for Boots in Ilford.
The store at 117 High Road will remain and is taking over Poundland to double in size.
Shop manager Aktar Hussain said he is exciting to present a new store, opening on November 27.
"Boots was my first job and I am still here 22 years later. We as a company have always strived to deliver the best care for our colleagues and customers.
"I have been managing Ilford for three years now and have seen Ilford evolve overtime and that's exactly what we are doing, adapting to the needs of our customers.
"We are all excited to present a brand new store to Ilford."
A series of planning applications have been submitted by the retailer for its new store, including a new shopfront, internal alterations and the installation of a cash machine.
Commenting on potential job losses, a spokesman for Boots said staff at the big store will be "redeployed where possible".