Bobby’s department store opening date in Bournemouth announced as phase one detail
The developers relaunching the Bobby & Co department store in Bournemouth have announced a start date for the first phase of its grand reopening.
Verve Properties is currently restoring the old Debenhams building at The Square in the center of the seaside town, to create a commercial hub of “local, ethical and unique” businesses.
The complex will be named after Bobby, marking the return of the provincial department store brand to the same building almost 50 years after it was replaced by Debenhams.
As part of the building’s restoration, the entrance to the original 1915 store is expected to be restored, with architectural details from the 1920s uncovered and restored to suit contemporary finishes.
London-based Verve has now said the first items of the revival will be open to the public from Saturday, August 7, with more to follow later in the year and into 2022.
A beauty salon will first open on the ground floor of the building, offering products from local businesses such as the skin care brand Bao, along with a hair salon, treatment rooms and wellness activities. -be that will be added later in the year.
The initial opening will also include an artist-run space and a new gallery focused on international contemporary art, a traditional ice cream and café parlor, outdoor seating in the square, and a sushi restaurant.
Visitors will also be able to experience the DROOL, described as “the world’s first food hall entirely devoted to dogs”. The pop-up café will include a pastry shop, a “doggy tuck shop” and a dog ball recycling center.
Later in 2021, the building will see the opening of the Bobby & Co Market Hall on the first floor, which will also include a bar, café lounge and seating for up to 400 people.
There is also a smoking room serving craft beers, a top-floor gourmet restaurant, on-site bakery and gardens.
Verve said the new incarnation of Bobby’s would not be a department store in its “previous understanding” and would deliver retail experiences that are not easy to replicate online.
Ashley Nicholson, director of Verve Properties, said the aim of the project was to make Bobby’s a building of “regional significance” and to show that there was a future for the UK’s shopping streets.
Mr Nicholson said: ‘Covid has accelerated the change already underway in our city centers – just as the impact on much of Main Street has seen retailers face enormous challenges, this accelerating a change already underway also presents an opportunity for a complete restart in terms of our use of city centers.
“Four primary drivers, community, localism, sustainability and experience will dominate the new era of face-to-face shopping – and we’ve worked to ensure they will be at the center of our reorientation of Bobby’s.
Prior to the current challenges facing the Main Street, the city’s markets were a central reason for people to gather, and this gathering creates a center for community life.
Mr. Nicholson added that a rotation of events and activities will be held in the store in order to “bring the community together.”
Debenhams closed in Bournemouth in May following the collapse of the business and the subsequent sale of its website and brand to online fashion retailer Boohoo.
Bobby & Co was founded when Frederick James Bobby bought a drapery shop in Margate, Kent, in 1887. At the start of the 20th century, the business grew, opening mainly in seaside towns in the south from England.
The company then became part of the Drapery Trust retail group, from which Debenhams had emerged in the 1950s. Debenhams renamed all of its subsidiaries, including Bobby’s in Bournemouth, in the early 1970s.
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