MORE than £500,000 is set to be injected into boosting trade in the western end of Montague Street, Worthing.
About £400,000 is earmarked by the new owner of H.G. Scadgell Ltd for a complete relaunch of the store, and there are plans for upwards of £160,000 to be spent converting the old Victoria Arms pub – opposite The Body Shop – into a high-tech retail shop.
This double dose of business investment is seen as a welcome step in getting more shoppers into the “West End” of the town centre, which has seen many traders quit since the recession started.
Scadgell’s new owner is another family business, Collingwood Batchellor Stores, which already has branches in Horsham, Haywards Heath and Haslemere.
The company is well into a £428,000 sale to dispose of all existing stock before building work starts in September.
Managing director Guy Collingwood, aged 47, said: “More than 1,800 people came in on the first day of the sale last Wednesday.
“It stretched right round the corner – the whole day was absolutely mental!”
Mr Collingwood continued: “We will be selling a similar, high-quality type of furniture, but with the addition of many new lines.
“We will be dropping soft furnishings and carpets, but adding a beautiful new linen department, and a cook-shop.
“We will be bringing the building completely up to date, with air-conditioning, new wiring, new flooring, improved accessibility for the disabled, new flooring and a new roof.
“There is a strong possibility we will have to replace the whole shopfront – the present one tends to rock in the wind!”
Mr Collingwood said the present staff of 15 would be retained, including the manager, Colin Howell. “We hope that loyal Scadgell’s customers will continue to visit us, and that we will attract new customers as well.
“Scadgell’s has a fabulous reputation and I want the new store to be a ‘flagship’ for promoting more trade in this part of Montague Street... there is a lot of character down this end of the street.”
Former MD John Scadgell, who retired from the store aged 66, had been involved in running the store since he left school.
If Worthing Council approves conversion plans for the old Victoria Arms pub, it will become an outlet for network store CeX Ltd, selling goods such as computers, telecommunications equipment and home entertainment.
The plans envisage a refurbishment of both the exterior and interior, and about a dozen staff would be employed.
A company spokesman said: “Hopefully, we will be able to open and stimulate the area. We are keen and ready to start next week!”
Town centre manager Sharon Clarke said: “We sorry to see John Scadgell go, but he deserves his retirement! But it is fantastic that another family firm is interested in investing that amount of money in Worthing, and we wish them well with their plans.”
Mrs Clarke added it was really encouraging to see that the old Victoria Arms might be occupied in the near future, and that yet another company was interested in investing in the town.