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





We’re diving back into the nostalgia pool with eight more shops and eateries we miss from the 2000s.

After our original list sparked a wave of fond memories, readers reached out to share their favourite spots in Bury St Edmunds from the decade that have since vanished.

Get ready to reminisce once again about these beloved places that once charmed our town.

Andy's Records closed in 2003. Picture: Chris Morris
Andy's Records closed in 2003. Picture: Chris Morris

Andy’s Records

Remember the days before Spotify and Apple Music? Then I’m sure you’ll remember Andy’s Records, in St John’s Street, which sold vinyl, cassettes, CDs and videos.

A visit to Andy’s was a treasure hunt for music lovers and you never knew which album you might walk out with.

The business started as a market stall during the 1970s before closing its doors for good in 2003.

Blockbuster in Brentgovel Street. Picture: Google Maps
Blockbuster in Brentgovel Street. Picture: Google Maps

Choices / Blockbuster

Before the era of streaming, the people of Bury relied on Choices, in Brentgovel Street, for their movie rentals on VHS tapes, DVDs and Blu-Rays.

The beloved store later became Blockbuster before it closed in 2013, leaving behind cherished memories.

As a child, stepping into the shop was like entering a wonderland, with two floors brimming with movie magic and the latest PS2 and Xbox games available to rent.

The real challenge was seeing how far you could get in your game before the rental period ended and you had to return it through the mysterious letterbox outside the building.

Debenhams. Mecha Morton
Debenhams. Mecha Morton

Debenhams

Just sneaking into the decade is Debenhams, which opened in March 2009 as the flagship site of the arc Shopping Centre.

Visitors to the department store will recall walking through its automatic doors and being greeted by a cloud of perfume as the fragrance counters were dotted along the right-hand side.

There was also the fabulous sparkly flooring that made you feel like you were walking on a disco ball.

The once popular brand collapsed in 2020 before closing its doors in 2021. The Bury site then remained empty until Primark opened earlier this year.

Some readers with good memories might also remember the town’s previous Debenhams, which was in Buttermarket and The Traverse (with a crossing over Skinner Street between the two shop units), which closed in the late 1990s.

The Swag Shop

The blindingly bright yellow sign. The equally blinding yellow bags. It could only mean one thing – The Swag Shop in Abbeygate Street.

This store sold everything from toys to sweets to those weird novelty items that somehow made the perfect birthday gifts.

But the Swag Shop left town way too soon and many readers still miss it today.

The Bakers Oven in 2005. Picture: Diane Earl
The Bakers Oven in 2005. Picture: Diane Earl

Baker’s Oven

Before it earned the nickname of the UK's fanciest Greggs, many will remember when the Baker’s Oven reigned supreme as the town’s go-to spot for the best sausage rolls.

The Abbeygate Street building has served the town for hundreds of years and has window glazing bars dating back to the 1700s, when it was Oliver & Son grocers.

Although Greggs and Bakers Oven both sell baked goodies and basically serve much the same purpose, proper Bury locals will always drop into conversation that they remember the glory days when it was Baker’s Oven – a true ‘I was there’ moment for the town.

HMV in the arc. Picture: Ben Carmichael
HMV in the arc. Picture: Ben Carmichael

HMV

After Andy’s Records closed, the town needed a musical saviour and for many that came in the shape of HMV, in the arc.

The music retailer stocked all the latest hits and I proudly bought my first CD there in 2010.

But other than the music, I found myself weirdly obsessed with flicking through the massive A1 posters near the entrance. I’d spend ages imagining which one would look best on my bedroom wall, despite never actually buying one.

Did anyone else do that?

While HMV stores still rock on elsewhere in the UK, Bury's branch bowed out in January 2020. Perhaps I’ll have to hit the road to finally snag one of those posters.

Barwells winning top award in 1995. Picture: Bury Free Press
Barwells winning top award in 1995. Picture: Bury Free Press

Barwells

Walking down Abbeygate Street on a Saturday, the inviting waft of Barwells was hard to miss.

With the stall out front grilling the award-winning St Edmunsbury’s Gold’s, you just had to pick one up, take a seat on Angel Hill and dig into one of those sumptuous sausages.

Closing in 2011 after 150 years in the town, owner Judy Harper said the economic climate meant it was time to move to the worldwide web.

Closing on Christmas Eve, it became Patisserie Valerie soon after and nowadays is fronted as Dough & Co, which will soon become bottomless pizza venue Slices.

Thorntons on Cornhill. Picture: SuffolkNews
Thorntons on Cornhill. Picture: SuffolkNews

Thorntons

As children, working in a chocolate shop seemed like the ultimate dream job and Thorntons, on Cornhill, made that fantasy feel almost attainable.

This sweet paradise sold the most amazing chocolate gifts, including Easter eggs that looked absolutely gigantic to our little eyes.

The store closed in 2017 before making way for Caffè Nero – but, could any trip to town during the 2000s be complete without pressing our faces against the glass windows and daydreaming about devouring all that chocolate? Absolutely not.

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