At a time when stores in British High Streets are closing in their thousands, it’s refreshing to learn that the Bobby & Co department store has reopened in Bournemouth. Bobby’s first opened in the town’s square in May 1915 and in 1972, the building became Debenhams. After nigh on half a decade, Bobby’s is back where it belongs.
According to store closure figures collected by the Local Data Company on behalf of accountancy firm PwC, an average of nearly 50 outlets closed daily due to the impact of the pandemic and people’s changing shopping habits. Bucking the trend, Bobby’s & Co have been beavering away working on a major transformation in the background. I had the privilege to head there for an exclusive sneak look at it before it was opened to the public.
The store has replaced Debenhams, which had been on the site since 1972. The department’s first eight elements have opened, with more retailers set to arrive over the coming months. The first thing you’ll notice is the good old fashioned personal shopping service.
The staff in the beauty hall were only too pleased to help me with my requirements and were genuinely interested in me. Bobby’s Beauty Hall is jam-packed with global brands as well as a dedicated section for local sustainable and conscious beauty.
We all know shopping can be an exhausting activity, and the need to refuel is important. So I was delighted to see Champagne and Sushi bar Drgnfly conveniently located next to the beauty hall. With a blend of old and new, their fresh flavours were enough to satisfy my tastebuds and replenish my energy levels to continue shopping. Love ice-cream? There’s Bobby’s ice-cream parlour to the left of the store, where you can literally work your way through all the delicious flavours.
What’s more, if you have a four-legged friend, there’s no need to leave them at home. Drool is the first food hall devoted entirely to dogs. Featuring a cake shop, a ‘Lick ‘n’ Mix station’, a doggy tuck shop, a dog ball recycling centre, fish and chip flavoured treats, as well as liver cakes, your pooch will get a real pampering. With an abundance of new dog owners over the global pandemic, Drool is a real treat for pets who have given so much enjoyment to their new parents.
We’re a champion of supporting local companies and were pleased to see South Coast Makers shop showcasing a varied collection of one-of-a-kind art, design and craftwork handmade by makers from the south coast. South Coast Makers Market is Bournemouth’s independently run monthly curated market held in the heart of the town.
At the store, the ever-changing collection includes ceramics, woodwork, homewares, stationery, greeting cards and candles alongside locally produced food and drink such as artisan gin, handmade fudge and honey.
And there’s plenty more to come over the next year, including Bobby’s Brasserie, Bar and Rooftop Gardens. The Market Hall is set to feature independent Food offerings with cuisines from around the world and will be spread across the entire first floor alongside Bobby’s Bar, the Deli, Coffee Lounge and Bobby’s Emporium Liquor store. And there’s more good news for foodie lovers.
The DISTRICT will bring to life the char-grilled flavours of authentic Texan barbecue, smoked the Austin way – low’ n’ slow. Speciality barbecue requires specialist equipment, which is why all the smoking will take place in “Cooper”, the store’s custom-built 1.5-ton smoker, built and shipped from the Lone Star State itself.
Bobby’s & Co – Where and How?
Bobby’s & Co is located in The Square, Bourne Ave, Bournemouth BH2 5LY. The store opens at 10 am daily apart from Sunday when it opens at 10.30 am. For more information on Bobby’s & Co, visit www.bobbysbournemouth.com.
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