New look Pilgrims store causes stir in St Dunstan’s
Discerning bargain hunters were quick to visit the new look Pilgrims Hospices store in St Dunstan’s, Canterbury, when it reopened 0n Thursday (14 February).
Despite a wet start, there was a queue of people waiting for their first glimpse of the interior, which in the past three weeks has been given a complete makeover.
Declaring the shop officially open was Anthony Pratt, Director of the nearby Canterbury Auction Galleries. He said: “Congratulations to Pilgrims for such an amazing transformation, it’s a splendid achievement.”
Anthony said he hoped this success will now go from strength to strength, adding: “These achievements wouldn’t be possible without the support of the people of east Kent. Their donations come in thick and fast and their continued custom is appreciated by hospice staff, volunteers and patients alike.”
For more than 30 years, the store has been housed in a half-timbered Tudor building, nestled in one of the oldest parts of Canterbury near the medieval Westgate Towers. This is the first refurb for this flagship store in many years.
During the works, the natural timbers of the building were uncovered, along with a beautiful period fireplace.
Shoppers can now choose from a huge range of quality pre-loved items including vintage men’s and women’s clothes, vinyl records, stylish household items, fabrics, toys and a stunning 35 metres of shelved books.
Pilgrims Hospices now runs 33 stores, with help from more than 1,000 volunteers. Together these make a significant contribution to the annual costs of the three Pilgrims Hospices in Canterbury, Ashford and Thanet, which offer care free of charge to local people with life-limiting illnesses, their families and carers.
Among the first customers through the doors was Susan Pritchard, from Herne Bay, a first time shopper attracted by the window display. She said: “The shop looks really nice with the new layout. It was very inviting when we looked through the window and now we can see inside it’s great. I am already enjoying browsing!”
Leading the project was Pilgrims head of retail, Heather Sawney. She was very proud of her team’s achievements, saying: “Staff and volunteers have been working non-stop to get everything ready since the builders left 10 days ago and the results are amazing, it’s completely revitalised the shop.”
Heather revealed there’s already been a lot of interest from enthusiastic passers by: “In the lead up to the opening we’ve had people banging on the windows asking to get in and saying how lovely it looks, it’s really positive.”
The team hopes the new shop will have something for everyone, with familiar stock and prices for regular customers alongside new ranges and higher end brands.
“We know for many of our customers part of the enjoyment of their visit is the chance to relax, rummage and discover unexpected treasures, so we have kept areas for this to happen,” said Heather. “For shoppers who are tighter for time we have introduced much more structure to our displays so they can see exactly what’s on offer. Overall customers can expect good quality across all our items and an attractive space to enjoy.”