28 May 2024, 12:05
By Furniture News Mar 30, 2015

Mary Berry cuts the cake as shoppers flock to Teesside’s iconic new store

Over 3000 shoppers and fans packed out Barker and Stonehouse’s new Stockton store on Saturday as baking doyenne Mary Berry cut the cake to mark its official opening. The £4.5m store has revitalised an eyesore derelict site – and its nine-month construction has already brought a huge boost to North East businesses. Design inspiration taken from stores in New York and Paris has contributed to the dramatic architecture of the three-floor store, which is expected to draw visitors from the entire region and beyond.

Shoppers queued patiently throughout Teesside Retail Park to get their chance to look around the iconic building, designed and built by McLuckie Projects of North Yorkshire. For Barker and Stonehouse, it’s a return to the company’s roots – it opened its first store in Stockton in 1946.  That history is marked with a special exhibition within the store that includes adverts, photos and the scrambling motorbike of MD James Barker’s grandfather.

James says: “The opening of our new store and head office is truly exciting for us, and we were delighted to welcome along so many people to our day of celebration. Having Mary Berry to perform our official opening really put the icing on the cake – so to speak! – and added to the enjoyment of everyone who paid us a visit. On a serious note, the opening of the store is the culmination of years of planning and months of building – and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results.”

A major North East business success, Barker and Stonehouse employs over 350 staff – around 60 are working in the new Stockton store.

Construction of the atmospheric 48,270 sq ft store and head office has created an economic boost in the area, with more than 60 people working on the site for nine months and local materials brought in including:

- 270 tons of steel from Harry Marsh Engineers of Sunderland

- 14,000 plants grown by award-winning gardener Will Quarmby in Thirsk

- Thousands of reclaimed bricks from Easington

- External cladding and roofing by Chemplas of Newcastle

James continues: “Although we now have nine stores across the UK including one in London, we have an enormous commitment to the North East and took great care to use suppliers and skills as close to home as possible.”

The store also has great green credentials – it the only ‘living wall’ in Teesside, stocked with Will’s plants, as well as a planted roof, and specially-designed lighting and heat recovery systems which reduce its carbon footprint by 46%. The shopping experience is even more impressive. Shoppers can browse on two floors, enjoy an outdoor terrace and sample high-quality food by local restaurateur Daryl Chadwick.

James says: “We wanted to create a beautiful store to take retail in the region into a completely new league, and we feel we’re achieved all that and more. To see so many people here on our opening day was a real testament to our passion for creating an outstanding experience for our customers, and we’re grateful to all of our visitors for helping us to mark a very special day.”

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