Cobbler returns after trader buys back shops

Witney Gazette: Subodhini, left, and Chanthirakumar Seenithamby in their hardware store Buy this photo Subodhini, left, and Chanthirakumar Seenithamby in their hardware store

RETAILING in Woodstock is going back to the future with the opening of two new shops offering traditional goods and services.

The Woodstock Cobbler has returned while a hardware store has opened next door.

Both shops in Oxford Street have been bought by Chanthirakumar Seenithamby, who owns and runs Mary and Martin News opposite.

He will now run the hardware store with his family, while cobbler Graham Broughall, who had traded in Woodstock for 18 years, has returned to the town.

Mr Seenithamby, better known as Kumar, said: “Graham lost his lease when Berkeley Homes bought the buildings but when they came on the market having been refurbished, I bought the shops and asked him to come back.

“I also thought we needed a hardware store as the last one closed about three years ago and elderly people, for example, can’t go anywhere else. I will also deliver as we already have 300 customers on the paper rounds.”

Mr Broughall had moved to work from a friend’s shop in Northampton and in the interim period Mr Seenithamby collected customers’ shoes at the newsagent’s for him to collect.

Mr Broughall said: “I am glad to be back in Woodstock and it has been busy since we reopened.

Witney Gazette:

  • Cobbler Graham Broughall at work

“There is a need for services like this locally so people don’t have to travel to other places.”

The move has been welcomed by traders’ group Wake Up to Woodstock.

Chairman Chris Baylis said: “Woodstock is beginning to lose a lot of shops and the NatWest bank. These stores will become a destination for people in the town and the surrounding villages.

“Kumar has his finger on the pulse of local trade.”

The shops were restored by house builder Berkeley Homes, as part of its Blenheim Gate development.

Sales director Sarah Brown said: “We are delighted to have sold both units, allowing two local businesses to return to Woodstock for the benefit of the community.”

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