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10 shops you’ll only remember if you grew up in Bury St Edmunds during the 2000s





Take a trip down memory lane as we reminisce about some of our favourite childhood shops and eateries we wish were still there.

Bury St Edmunds is known for its Abbey Gardens, Greene King brewery and for its British Sugar plant – however, those who grew up in the town during the 2000s may remember some of these shopping highlights on our list.

The 00s were a great time to be a child in Bury – so put down that Argos catalogue, charge up your Sony Ericsson T610 and lace up your Heelys as we glide into some nostalgia.

Woolworths

The home of pic’n’mix and bargains galore, Woolworths was a must-visit for families heading to town at weekends.

Woolies served the people of Bury for 80 years before closing its doors in 2008, but many will remember stopping by the variety shop to grab a bag of pic’n’mix before heading to the cinema.

You might also remember how three-quarters of your treats had ‘somehow’ been snaffled before the film even started...

Woolworths. Picture: Google Maps
Woolworths. Picture: Google Maps
Woolworths closed its doors in 2008. Picture: Roger Arbon
Woolworths closed its doors in 2008. Picture: Roger Arbon
JD Sports. Picture: Google Maps
JD Sports. Picture: Google Maps

JD Sports

Every youth alive in the noughties probably visited JD Sports, in Buttermarket, for one reason and one reason only – the JD Sports bag.

The trend saw school locker rooms adorned with the free, plastic drawstring bags, which were perfectly sized for your PE kit.

Was it a fashion statement? A status symbol? Or just a free and convenient bag for your smelly shorts and plimsolls? It’s still unclear why so many of us jumped on this trend, but one thing is certain: any student repping a JD Sports bag was very, very cool.

Burger King. Picture: Google Maps
Burger King. Picture: Google Maps

Burger King

Bury now has its town centre Burger King in the arc Shopping Centre, but many readers might remember when the chain was just doors away from its fast food arch-nemesis, McDonald's, on Cornhill.

Stuck in the middle of the burger rivalry was GAME, while Thomas Cook travel agency was on the other side of BK – names which have since vanished from the Bury town centre landscape like a McFlurry in July (although GAME does now have a concession within Sports Direct).

Burger King customers might remember its quirky interior, with a seating area downstairs, steps up to the serving counter, and then more seating upstairs - with a fab view over the market if you sat at the front of the restaurant or the delights of the popular ‘party room’ at the rear.

The former Cornhill Burger King site is now Adnams.

Cornhill Walk closed its doors in 2016. Picture: Roger Arbon
Cornhill Walk closed its doors in 2016. Picture: Roger Arbon
Evans in Cornhill Walk. Picture: Roger Arbon
Evans in Cornhill Walk. Picture: Roger Arbon

Cornhill Walk

As a relic of the 1980s, Cornhill Walk felt more like a strange museum than a go-to shopping destination for the youth of the noughties.

The shopping centre has been closed since 2016, but it once boasted retailers including Select, JJB Sports, Index, New Look, Evans, Principles and Etam.

JJB Sports was a particular favourite, where I can recall being in awe of the seemingly endless array of footballs, basketballs, tennis rackets and football boots upstairs.

Select in Cornhill Walk. Picture: Roger Arbon
Select in Cornhill Walk. Picture: Roger Arbon
Early Learning Centre. Picture: Google Maps
Early Learning Centre. Picture: Google Maps

Early Learning Centre

Early Learning Centre (ELC) was a Buttermarket paradise for cuddly toys, games, educational toys and it was one of the few shops where children were encouraged to touch and play with everything in sight.

It was also one of the rare shops in Bury in the 2000’s with toilets and changing facilities, making it a lifesaver for parents.

The shop closed in 2015 and the unit is now occupied by clothing retailer Seasalt Cornwall – but many town shoppers will still remember the bubble machine stationed at the front of the store in its days as ELC.

Hardcore Hobbies in St John's Street. Picture: Google Maps
Hardcore Hobbies in St John's Street. Picture: Google Maps

Hardcore Hobbies

I don’t think there was a more totally radical shop on this list than Hardcore Hobbies, which was in Bury for 20 years.

The independent retailer, which started off in St John’s Street before moving to Risbygate Street, was the ultimate go-to spot for BMX bikes, skateboards, scooters, trainers and all the accessories you could dream of.

Hardcore Hobbies surfed the wave of the skater aesthetic boom, thanks to the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater video games, pop-punk anthems and some of the chunkiest DC trainers ever to grace human feet.

Hardcore Hobbies in Risbygate Street. Picture: Google Maps
Hardcore Hobbies in Risbygate Street. Picture: Google Maps
From left, Louie Meyers-Bicker, Jay Mills, Harley Miller and Sean Butler inside the newly opened Hardcore Hobbies store in 2012. Picture: Roger Arbon
From left, Louie Meyers-Bicker, Jay Mills, Harley Miller and Sean Butler inside the newly opened Hardcore Hobbies store in 2012. Picture: Roger Arbon
Pizza Hut. Picture: Google Maps
Pizza Hut. Picture: Google Maps

Pizza Hut

*Sniff sniff* – smell that? Yep. That’s the unmistakable aroma of a trip to Pizza Hut, where the challenge was to see how many slices you could devour at the lunchtime buffet.

No visit was complete without ordering the all-you-can-eat ‘ice cream factory’ for dessert and loading the dish with as many marshmallows and Smarties as physically possible.

The branch on Cornhill closed its doors in 2020 during the first pandemic lockdown, and although Bury still has the delivery site in Tayfen Road, the town has been left with a hut-sized hole which may never be completely filled.

Toy Box Two. Picture: Google Maps
Toy Box Two. Picture: Google Maps

Toy Box Two

From the giant Playmobile figure in the shop window to the back room seemingly filled to the brim with teddies and Beanie Babies, Toy Box Two in St John’s Street was a must-visit for children in the 2000s.

The tiny shop was a treasure trove of childhood wonders, where every visit felt like embarking on a mini-adventure.

It was the kind of shop where you could lose track of time, emerging hours later with a new toy and a heart full of joy.

Sounds Plus. Picture: Google Maps
Sounds Plus. Picture: Google Maps

Sounds Plus

So many guitars. So. Many. Guitars. Sounds Plus was like a sweet shop for aspiring rock stars.

The legendary music store, in Risbygate Street, served the town’s musicians for 39 years before shutting in 2018.

Whether you were just peeking through the window, popping in to pick up some fresh guitar strings or staring up at the walls of guitar awesomeness, Sounds Plus was the place where dreams of shredding epic solos were born.

Shakeaway. Picture: Bury St Edmunds Shakeaway
Shakeaway. Picture: Bury St Edmunds Shakeaway

Shakeaway

Sneaking in just outside the noughties, the short-lived outlet Shakeaway (in the arc Shopping Centre) was like lightning in a bottle for the town – or perhaps milkshake in a bottle would be more fitting.

The milkshake vendor was known for its bizarre flavours from Double Decker to Maltesers and Skittles to Party Rings – which might be sound relatively tame by today’s milkshake standards, but in 2010, this was ground-breaking stuff.

Hundreds of youngsters, including myself, would queue up for what seemed like hours for a taste of delicious milkshake magic. What a time to be alive.

Alas, Shakeaway was a short-lived feature of the town centre, opening in May 2010 and closing the following year.

The queues for Shakeaway. Picture: Bury St Edmunds Shakeaway
The queues for Shakeaway. Picture: Bury St Edmunds Shakeaway

How many of these shops can you remember? Did we miss any other 2000s favourites off the list? Let us know by emailing sam.harrison@iliffepublishing.co.uk.