Store marks 20th milestone

editorial image

A Belper store is celebrating its 20th anniversary in style - with a reunion for staff members old and new.

De Bradelei Stores on Chapel Street opened in 1994, when owner Simon Wallwork completed an extensive refurbishment on the Grade II* listed building, a former Brettles textiles mill.

Since then, the family- run company has gone from strength to strength - opening De Bradelei Wharf in Dover, Courtaulds Factory shop in Nottingham along with several franchise shops in Ilkley, Skipton and Northallerton.

Meanwhile, the Belper store has built up to employing more than 60 local people in the building. 
Several are still with the firm and employed two decades on, he said.

Now, former and current employees of the store are being invited to share memories at a special reunion event at the store on Saturday, April 26 at 3pm.

Managing director Simon Wallwork said “This year marks a milestone for De Bradelei as we are celebrating 20 years since starting the business in Belper.

“Much of our success has been down to the excellent service and dedication of our staff both now and over the years and we feel very fortunate to have worked with such wonderful people.

“I hope that they will be able to join us to mark this occasion and to catch up with former colleagues and friends and familiar faces.”

Over the years De Bradelei has gradually expanded, opening up new areas of the mill building.

In 2012 an additional space of around 8,000 sq ft was added, with the intention of attracting even more visitors to the store and town and setting the store up as a “destination shopping experience”, when offices in the mill became vacant.

This incorporated a brand new gift department along with extended ranges of ladies and menswear.

Before being taken over by Mr Wallwork the mill has a long proud history.

Built in 1834, it was the one time headquarters of George Brettle and Co, once one of the most renowned manufacturers of hosiery and other cotton goods.

On the site, stockings were once produced for George III and his granddaughter Queen Victoria, and it is said the cotton vest worn by Admiral Horatio Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 was a Brettle vest. “Bradelei” relates to the time of the Domesday Book when that was the name by which Belper was recorded.