Whether is was spending your pocket money in Toys R Us and Woolworths, getting your school uniform in C&A, or buying your first ever record in Replay Records. Stoke-on-Trent has loved and lost a number of retailers over the decades.
StokeonTrentLive asked our readers which stores you missed the most, from independent shops to retail giants. The high streets of Staffordshire have evolved a number of times over the years, but the pandemic has had a major effect on retail, with Hanley losing 12 much-loved stores and cafes in 2020.
The Disney Store is one retailer that is frequently requested every time a store closes in the city, alongside IKEA, which has never had a Staffordshire branch. But here are nine stores Staffordshire residents did enjoy before they closed their doors for good.
Bratt & Dyke
Bratt & Dyke was on the corner of Stafford Street and Trinity Street in the city centre.
In the 50s, cousins Tony and Stanley were tasked with running the department store, and 15 years later, opened a second branch in Stafford.
People joked that no-one knew how many floors it had, and with so many staircases, it was easy to get lost whilst searching for the toy section!
If Woolies didn’t sell it – it probably didn’t exist. From DVDs and garden supplies, to baby clothes and games consoles.
There was no better feeling than heading into one of their Stoke-on-Trent stores with a pocket full of change and making a beeline for the pick and mix.
All 807 Woolworths stores were closed in January 2009 after the company collapsed.
C&A was built on Stafford Street in the mid 1960s, where Wilko now stands.
Many people remember shopping for their school uniform in C&A, but if you can find an item of clothing bearing their label today, you’ll have yourself a coveted piece of vintage.
The group announced it would be shutting its 109 British stores in June 2000, and the Hanley branch closed in January 2001.
Who remembers rifling through vinyl at Replay Records, in Tunstall? It was the place to find the best new albums in the 80s and 90s.
Replay Records opened in 1983, but closed on March 7, 2000.
This independent book store – set over two floors – sold a whole host of fiction and non-fiction books in Hanley.
It served the community for 102 years before closing in January 2016, following the retirement of owners Nigel and Robert Webberley.
Ethel Austin operated around 300 stores in the UK, and had branches in May Bank, Congleton and Stoke.
The clothing store declared insolvency in January 2013, where all remaining stores closed with immediate effect.
Brookfield’s, on Trentham Road, provided the people of Stoke-on-Trent with DIY solutions for over 130 years before it closed in 2019.
The store – between Longton and Dresden – was opened in 1886 by Thomas Brookfield selling push bikes, before fitting engines on them to make early motorbikes.
But in 1916 Thomas was testing a new type of gear box when he suffered an accident to his head and died three days later in Longton Cottage Hospital.
His sons then took on the business and it developed into a hardware store, which closed in 2019 when the owners announced their retirement.
The Disney Store
The Disney Store was one of the main attractions at The Potteries Centre from 1997.
But the store sadly closed down in January 2013, despite the people of Staffordshire repeatedly pleading for a branch to reopen in the city.
Plushies of characters from the latest Disney movie were a must-have growing up in the noughties – as well as a collection of cups adorned with Disney Princesses!
Toys R Us
Toys R Us was a kids’ paradise as far back as 1988 in their Festival Park store.
Aisles and aisles of toys and games was the stuff of dreams – until the retailer went into administration, closing the huge store in April 2018.
Where are the children of today meant to spend their birthday money now?