Cheers as off licence staff get jobs reprieve

PUBLISHED: 11:44 05 January 2006 | UPDATED: 09:24 06 May 2010

Staff at Unwins in Shefford celebrate the news

Staff at Unwins in Shefford celebrate the news

THREE of the Unwins off licences in Comet country closed when the company collapsed five days before Christmas have won a reprieve. Stores in Cambridge Road, Hitchin, High Street, Shefford, and The Oval, Stevenage, are among those bought by Threshers. The

THREE of the Unwins off licences in Comet country closed when the company collapsed five days before Christmas have won a reprieve.

Stores in Cambridge Road, Hitchin, High Street, Shefford, and The Oval, Stevenage, are among those bought by Threshers. They reopened last week or will open soon and are trading under the name The Local.

But there was no cheer for managers who ran the Unwins stores in London Road, Knebworth, Ivel Court on the Jackmans estate in Letchworth GC, and two others in Stevenage in the High Street, Old Town, and another in Chells which are not among the Threshers buyout package.

In at least one case it meant the manager losing the right to live in the flat above the shop.

But there was rejoicing from staff and customers at the Shefford store.

"The past week has been a nightmare followed by a lot of joy," said manager Nikki Guest, 37.

"The big black spot was when we were told the shop was closing and the day before Christmas Eve we were all rejoicing again when we were told it was reopening.

"All our lives had suddenly crashed one moment and then we were all over the moon knowing our jobs had been saved.

"Opening up again was fantastic and the people of Shefford have been brilliant. People around here have even been coming in helping us set up the shop, they are that pleased we have opened again."

Unwins, which started as a family business in 1843, went into receivership on December 20. The business had been bought for £32m in March last year by DM Private Equity from the family who owned the company.

Threshers have bought 200 of the 381 Unwins stores for an undisclosed sum but say they have no plans to purchase any more.

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