A men’s fashion retailer which first opened in Barnsley 75 years ago has begun a new chapter in its history by extending its product lines and recruiting additional staff.
Ashworth & Bird, in Eldon Street, has changed its name from Frank Bird Menswear under which it has traded since the Second World War.
The move is part of a re-branding by the independent retail group which now owns the store, and staff report the change has been well received by customers.
Now, the sales team and its range of designer labels are expanding. Ashworth & Bird, which already offers 40 different top brands, including Hugo Boss and Ralph Lauren, will introduce another four labels over the coming months, including Scotch & Soda and 7 For All Mankind.
And, a new sales assistant post has recently been created. James Brown’s appointment takes the Barnsley team to 10.
The business’s development is being supported by Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre (BBIC) through the Enterprising Barnsley programme, which is funded by Barnsley Council.
Frank Bird opened his shop in 1939 at the outbreak the Second World War. His aim, however difficult at the time, was to seek out the finest ranges of menswear available throughout Europe.
Frank’s son Malcolm later took over the reins. He ran the store and its sister shop in Wakefield until he retired six years ago and sold the business to Jersey-based Richard Clews.
The nine stores in Richard’s portfolio, which sell designer fashion and accessories for men, women and children, were all brought under the Ashworth & Bird banner last year. Other stores are in Reigate, Surrey, and Jersey.
Neil Tennant, general manager of Ashworth & Bird’s UK stores, said the company’s approach remains as it was when Frank Bird founded the Barnsley shop.
Neil said: “We look for design, style, and quality. Clothes must pass our exacting tastes and be to a standard – the best.
“Also, offering outstanding customer service has kept our customers returning time after time and generation after generation and stands us miles apart from high street stores. This continues to be our number one priority as we look to the future.”
Throughout this year, managers at Ashworth & Bird in Barnsley will be receiving business coaching from experienced coach Dorothy Betts through the Enterprising Barnsley programme.
Neil said: “We’re always looking to improve in whatever way we can, and this is a great business development opportunity for us to take advantage of.”
Kevin Steel, Enterprising Barnsley’s business development manager at BBIC, said: “The name of Frank Bird has been synonymous with Barnsley and fine quality for many years. As well as being part of the town’s heritage, it’s a huge asset to our retail offering and I’ve been a customer myself for a number of years.
“We’re delighted to be able to support Ashworth & Bird going forward with their new brand and we wish them another 75 years of success.”