One of Huddersfield’s best-known retailers will complete its move to new premises at the end of the month.
Peters will leave its King Street department store after 32 years and move to the former Bargain World and RSPCA shops in the nearby Packhorse Centre.
Today, Peters opened its Coffee Mill coffee shop in the Packhorse Centre as work continues apace on the refit.
Peters, opened in 1982, was set up by the late Peter Whittle and is now run by his son David and wife Caroline. Before that the Whittle family ran Kayes department store, one of the town’s best-remembered shops.
“While it’s the end of an era, it’s an exciting time for Peters,” said David. “The business has always reinvented itself and you have to adapt and move forward.”
The King Street store, in a prime retail location, had become “tired” and running costs were high.
David, 58, spoke to London-based landlords New River and was offered alternative premises in the Packhorse Centre.
“We had discussions with the landlord a couple of years ago, when high street conditions were difficult not just for us but for everyone, and they realised that while the store had one of the best sites in Huddersfield, the costs were prohibitive.
“They worked with us and suggested the Packhorse Centre, where we will become anchor tenants.”
David said the Packhorse Centre was to undergo a major revamp with the creation of a food court upstairs and the installation of a lift and escalator.
“We understand work will start in March which will help us make a new start in a brand new building,” he said.
David and Caroline had hoped to open the new store – at 10,000 sq ft half the size of the old one – in early December but asbestos was found and had to be removed.
The coffee shop – which will offer a £2 ‘breakfast-on-the-run’ and all-day breakfasts – has opened in the former RSPCA shop while the handbags and shoes for which Peters are renowned will be alongside. There will also be new jewellery and shoe concessions.
Downstairs will be the Bargain Basement with electrical goods, soft furnishings, fashions and lingerie.
The new-look store is due to open on Monday, January 26 with the old store closing by the end of the month.
Peters employs around 60 full and part-time staff and all will move to the new store.
Coffee shop manager Andrea Mathers, 46, who has worked at Peters for nine years, said the new coffee shop had already proved a hit with regulars.
“It’s been hard work to get it ready but we have had a good response. Everyone is really excited for us and pleased that Peters won’t be closing. We have customers who always come in on certain days.”
One group of friends who enjoy a coffee at Peters every Monday morning are Sheila Cotton, 76, of Lindley, Audrey Dyson, 84, of Oakes, Pat Kaye, 59, of Crosland Moor, Maureen Kaye, 66, of Marsh, and Jenny Collins, 66, of Lindley.
Audrey said: “We used to sit in the same corner and probably spend too long over a cup of coffee but the new coffee shop seems very good.
“We’ve been coming here for years and know all the staff. We’ll keep coming back.”