History of Barretts

The Early Years

Barretts has for over forty years been a landmark in the town, with its position at the heart of the Thoroughfare and its distinctive and attractive shop front.

It was established in May 1969 by Jack and Ann Barrett, and there’s a great photo of the current owner Jill Barrett (Jack and Ann’s daughter), aged 2, sitting in the bed department at the grand opening.

History of Barretts of Woodbridge - Jill aged two at grand opening
Jill aged two on Barretts Grand Opening Day, May 1969

Barretts suffered a major set-back early on, when in October 1970 a fire completely destroyed the showroom. The Barrett family were living in a flat above the shop at the time. Luckily the roar of the fire woke Ann up and they were being make good their escape. Another fortunate escape was the beautiful shop frontage which suffered only superficial damage.

History of Barretts - Fire of 1970 History of Barretts - Fire of 1970
The Barretts fire in October 1970

Barretts soon bounced back and was trading again within 3 days, and eight months later in June 1971, literally from the ashes, the refurbished showroom was re-opened.

History of Barretts - Re-opening in June 1971History of Barretts - Re-opening in June 1970
The re-opening in June 1971


Family Business

It was mainly furniture and beds in the earlier days. Linens, curtains, carpets, rugs and gifts were added over the years as the shop expanded. Jack and Ann retired in 1992 after 23 successful years trading, and Ann’s brother Ray Morley with his wife Paddy took on the business. They ensured Barretts retained its reputation for delivering a great customer experience, in a relaxed environment for shopping and browsing. They also made sure the business stayed family oriented. Ray and Paddy retired in December 2009, when Jill became the new owner, keeping Barretts in the family.

 Jill Barrett with parents - Jack and Ann, April 2010       Jill Barrett with her Aunt and Uncle - Paddy and Ray Morley, October 2011
Jill with her parents Jack and Ann, April 2010  Jill with Aunt Paddy and Uncle Ray, October 2011


Family Oriented

Our staff are like a family. With over 180 years experience between them, and low staff turn-over, the levels of loyalty and trust in the team are second to none. We also recognise staff have families of their own, so we don’t open on Sundays or Bank Holidays. Even Jill’s fiance Michael got in on the act, joining Barretts from BT in January 2010 and now the Store Manager. The future looks good too, with Jill’s daughters Vicky and Annie working when back from University. Most days Jill and Michael’s famous 'Retail Terrier' Daisy is brought into the shop. She keeps everyone updated on Twitter, but most importantly she’s a big hit with customers and staff alike.

Vicky, Michael, Jill and Annie, December 2012
Vicky, Michael, Jill and Annie - December 2012