In the first of a series of behind the store features from around the country we meet the staff and look at the history of a very special Debenhams store:
Browns of Chester
Manager: Kari Rodgers
Address: 30-40 Eastgate, Chester, CH1 1LF
You will have noticed that although it is a Debenhams store it is not branded as such, this is a nod to the store’s illustrious history; Browns of Chester was originally established in 1870 and was regarded as the Harrods of the North.
The building itself is beautifully designed and full of history. The oldest part of the store is located in a Grade I listed Crypt Chambers that was designed by pioneer architect T.M. Penson.
An important store in the Debenhams family since 1976, Browns is a very successful training store and has produced 15 store managers, 4 business partners, a sales director, a senior visual presentation manager and a Health & Safety manager.
Working at Browns of Chester is certainly a family affair! Amongst the loyal and hardworking staff there are two husbands and wives (Bev & Louis and Kath & Charlie), sisters Jackie & Karen and five mother and daughters (Debbie & Ellis, Dawn & Emma, Lydia & Katie, Val & Allison and Mary & Pip). The longest serving members of staff (pictured below) have racked up a very impressive 200 years of service between them!
The store has seen its fair share of very special guests over the years and those who have visited include, Her Majesty The Queen, Princess Margaret, Diana Dors, Mary Quant and Estée Lauder. Some staff claim they have another visitor when the store is closed to the public – the “Woman in White” is said the haunt the back of house areas. We think it’s the management keeping them on their toes!
Browns of Chester features all the top designers and brands from the Debenhams range and boasts an onsite restaurant, café, personal shopper service, wedding service and a Clarins Skin Spa. Visit its store page for store opening times, store events and more.
If you’re not lucky enough to have a Debenhams store near you, simply visit debenhams.com