Woollons & Harwood hardware firm to close after 112 years in business

Paul Woollons, of Woollons & Harwood, inside the firm’s warehouse on the York Road Industrial Estate in Malton

Paul Woollons, of Woollons & Harwood, inside the firm’s warehouse on the York Road Industrial Estate in Malton

First published in Business news York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Business editor

A FAMILY hardware business which has been in North Yorkshire for generations is to close.

Homeware and hardware retailer Woollons & Harwood has started closing down sales after 112 years of business.

The company, whose headquarters are in Malton where it had a shop for about 40 years, is closing after repeated break-ins to its internet-focused business.

Paul Woollons, owner and grandson of George Woollons who founded the business in York in 1901, said: “We suffered three break-ins last year. We had a very successful internet business run out of Malton, but it has folded because we are unable to protect our yard.”

Mr Woollons said the thieves were caught on CCTV, but were wearing balaclavas. Although the company invested a lot of money in new fencing, they beat it again.

He said: “We have got a night watchman who sits ten yards from us and the police have been very good, but they can’t be everywhere. These people work in teams and know where they are and what they’re doing.”

Mr Woollons said they had had to collapse the shelving in the warehouse at York Road Industrial Estate and park all the vehicles inside.

“That was the end of that,” he said. “The rug was pulled from under us with our website, which left us with the stores and things are really quiet on the high street.”

Woollons, which started out with a shop in Fossgate and the Stonebow, went into partnership with Mr Harwood in 1926 when it became a limited company. It was taken over by Mr Woollons’ father, Maurice, and uncle, Bernard, before he took the business on with his brother, Simon, who then emigrated about five years ago.

The business, which employs 14 people, now has two high street shops, in Helmsley and Thirsk, which have been open for about 20 to 25 years. Mr Woollons said the Helmsley shop would close at the end of January, and Thirsk would close once the stock had gone, probably before Easter.

He said: “I have got a very loyal band of customers that come in and people are very sad about it. But there’s an increasing number of people who look at stuff in the shop and go home and see how cheap it is online. A lot of websites are run from back bedrooms and kitchen tables where they don’t have to worry about rents, rates and employees’ wages.

“It was a hard decision and it’s something you have to get your head round. But there comes a point where one has had enough. Business is hard enough without all the other problems.”

Comments (6)

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9:04am Fri 4 Jan 13

MrsHoney says...

I didn't realise they were still going since the shops in York and Malton closed ages ago. What a shame, not pointing the finger but there are some people live across from the industrial estate who might know something!
I didn't realise they were still going since the shops in York and Malton closed ages ago. What a shame, not pointing the finger but there are some people live across from the industrial estate who might know something! MrsHoney
  • Score: 0

9:34am Fri 4 Jan 13

Woody G Mellor says...

MrsHoney wrote:
I didn't realise they were still going since the shops in York and Malton closed ages ago. What a shame, not pointing the finger but there are some people live across from the industrial estate who might know something!
That's not very fair Mrs Honey. Not like you to make a comment like that.
[quote][p][bold]MrsHoney[/bold] wrote: I didn't realise they were still going since the shops in York and Malton closed ages ago. What a shame, not pointing the finger but there are some people live across from the industrial estate who might know something![/p][/quote]That's not very fair Mrs Honey. Not like you to make a comment like that. Woody G Mellor
  • Score: 0

10:34am Fri 4 Jan 13

Keeet Lemon says...

MrsHoney wrote:
I didn't realise they were still going since the shops in York and Malton closed ages ago. What a shame, not pointing the finger but there are some people live across from the industrial estate who might know something!
Not pointing the finger? You clearly are!
[quote][p][bold]MrsHoney[/bold] wrote: I didn't realise they were still going since the shops in York and Malton closed ages ago. What a shame, not pointing the finger but there are some people live across from the industrial estate who might know something![/p][/quote]Not pointing the finger? You clearly are! Keeet Lemon
  • Score: 0

11:36am Fri 4 Jan 13

wonders says...

I am very sorry to hear this, such sad news, I live just around the corner where Paul and Simons Parents lived and remember them when they used to buy from Magsons of York (no longer in business) where i used to work. Thieves very rarley do the dirty on their OWN doorstep. its likely they have travelled some distance to committ such an atrocious act!! I wish Paul and his staff best wishes for their futures,
Neil Pitts
I am very sorry to hear this, such sad news, I live just around the corner where Paul and Simons Parents lived and remember them when they used to buy from Magsons of York (no longer in business) where i used to work. Thieves very rarley do the dirty on their OWN doorstep. its likely they have travelled some distance to committ such an atrocious act!! I wish Paul and his staff best wishes for their futures, Neil Pitts wonders
  • Score: 0

2:04pm Fri 4 Jan 13

runnermatt says...

Sad news. Best wishes to Paul, his family and to the staff
Sad news. Best wishes to Paul, his family and to the staff runnermatt
  • Score: 0

2:15pm Fri 4 Jan 13

Digeorge says...

I thought that they had closed completely as I had looked both in York and Malton. Sad.
I thought that they had closed completely as I had looked both in York and Malton. Sad. Digeorge
  • Score: 0

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