It’s hip hip hooray as Camp Hopson celebrates 100 Years in Newbury
The Award-winning department store at the heart of Newbury celebrates its centenary this autumn with a range of events, activities and treats, writes Fiona Paus.
Camp Hopson was founded in 1921, after the marriage of Nora Camp and Paul Hopson.
Nora’s father owned Alfred Camp’s Drapery Bazaar and Paul's grandfather owned a furniture business. After their union, the couple combined the two Newbury-based establishments to form Camp Hopson and set up in Northbrook Street, where it still stands today
As well as the department store there is a furniture centre, removal service and funeral directors.
Madeleine Thompson, general manager at the store, said: “We are all very excited about this anniversary, the fact that the shop is still trading after one hundred years shows the loyalty that our customers have to us.”
Camp Hopson hit the headlines in February 1972 when Newbury's first escalator was installed there.
The 33ft-long, seven-tonne escalator was delivered on a Sunday and the first customers were able to use it a month later.
The store underwent another huge refurbishment programme seven years ago when Camp Hopson was bought by Morleys Stores, but despite the changes many members of staff say the shop has retained its core values.
Elaine Clegg is one of its longest serving employees. She told the Newbury Weekly News: “The ethos of the store hasn't shifted; I think that's why our customers come back week after week, year after year.”
Mrs Thompson said one thing that has changed is their customer base.
“We now capture a younger age-group after the demise of some younger brands in Newbury,” she added. “Tailoring our brands to the local demographic is important. We now work to bring in new ones each month, this month we are excited to announce Mint Velvet, Ralph Lauren and Lakeland Leather.”
Over the years, Camp Hopson has been an integral part of the West Berkshire community, often supporting local charities and residents through donations, fashion events and prize draws.
In 1978 people were pictured queuing outside the store for four days to make sure they were first in line for the bargains in the January sale.
Mrs Thompson said that working with the local community is still one of the key objectives of the store.
“Each year we choose a charity to support, this year it is UK children’s charity Honeypot and from the 30th of September to the 30th October, we are also supporting Look Good Feel Better, a global cancer charity,” she said.
To commemorate the centenary, from next Thursday (September 30) to Sunday, October 3 Camp Hopson will be running activities and giving away free treats.
Rewards customers will also receive 20 points for every £1 spent across the department store and 10 points in the home store.