Wilkinson opening in Crawley attracts queue of hundreds
HUNDREDS of bargain hunters queued up for the opening of a new town centre store – with some waiting for hours.
Home and garden retailer Wilkinson opened its new shop in The Broadway last Wednesday (August 15).
Kuba Jasko, 18, of Stafford Road, Langley Green, was at the front of the queue – having arrived at 2.30am with his brother and three friends to set up camp.
He said: "We brought tents. I've never camped out in a town centre before but it's all been a bit of fun, and we wanted to go to the opening.
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"I'm not sure how much sleep I've had, though, so the first thing I might head for is the energy drinks. Then I'm looking to buy myself a new cup.
"Of course, I dressed up for the occasion. I'm in my red morph suit which I wore for dancing, the green wig is from a rugby trip to Ireland, and to set it all off I'm wearing my school hoody to complete the look."
Kuba's brother Adam, 19, wore a "onesie" one-piece tiger-print leotard for the occasion.
He said: "We got here at 2.30am and it was very quiet, apart from the noise from the drunks.
"I think the staff were a bit surprised to see us when they came out at 8am to set up the red carpet."
As the doors to the store, branded as Wilko rather than Wilkinson, opened on the stroke of 10am, store manager Barry Holden said he was taken aback by the volume of shoppers pouring in. He said: "The reaction from the public has been beyond expectation. It's phenomenal and unprecedented.
"This is what we call a trial store, which means we're offering something new here you can't get at our other stores.
"We've got a home living and DIY section upstairs, and people who are able to give home living guidance in store. We're the first Wilkinson in the country to offer this.
"It's early days but people seem to be heading for our value range – toiletries and cleaning products seem to be a big hit today, as are our free goody bags.
"We've given away 200 goody bags within 20 minutes of our opening."
One visitor to the opening of Crawley’s new Wilko store had seen it all before – more than 200 times.
Super fan Peter Trevaskis, 78, from Guildford, attends the opening of every Wilkinson shop he can,
He said: "I have been doing it for about 15 years. This is the 206th one I’ve been to. I visit all the branches.
"I take photographs and keep records, and I keep them all in a book. The staff in a lot of these shops know me.
"I don’t know what it is about Wilkinson – I think it’s that you can just get everything you want in one place – whether it’s toothpaste or paint, or curtains.
"It’s near enough the only shop you ever need, and the town will benefit from having it here."
He said his favourite branch is the one in Kingston-Upon-Thames, which is split over three floors and used to be a C&A.
But when asked about the reasons for his bizarre hobby, he simply replied: "I don’t know why I do it."