50 years for Woodhouse family firm

A family-run Woodhouse store is celebrating 50 years in business, after it was first set up by a local electrician in the 1960s.

By Andy Done-Johnson
Sunday, 15th September 2013, 8:11 am

Exciting Lighting, in Station Street, was first opened by Colin Ashley in 1963 as a front door for his electrical business.

And for sisters Colleen Williams (61) and Karen Mason (58), the business has been a life-long passion, after both starting working in the store every Saturday as children to earn their pocket money.

Colleen finally joined the family firm full-time when she left college, aded 19, and became her father’s secretary, and Karen joined shortly afterwards.

The sisters finally took ownership of the store around 18 years ago, when their father retired, and changed the focus from general electrical goods to interior and exterior lighting.

“Colleen told the Chad: “Dad had another shop down the road and he took this place on because he wanted more space to sell white goods - fridges and freezers, that sort of thing.

“We had to work in the shop each Saturday. When it first opened there was a lot of bric-a-brac on the counter, which as young girls we loved.

“We’ve both grown up with this place in our blood and seen a lot of changes - we’ve come through three recessions in our time and we’re still going strong.

“I learned a lot from my father, so a lot of people come here because they know they are going to get a quality product at a reasonable price, and a lot of experience and product knowledge.”

In the year the store opened, Britain was rocked by the Profumo Affair, double agent Kim Philby defected to the Soviet Union and armed raiders made it off with £2.6m in the Great Train Robbery.

In the world of entertainment, the Beatles were at the top of the charts following the release of their debut album, and Albert Finney was playing a Nottingham factory worker in Saturday Night, Sunday Morning.

It has been a period of birthdays for the family, with Colleen turning 61 in August and Colin celebrating his 89th birthday this month. Despite a half century in business, there are no plans to shut up shop.

Karen added: “We’ve been here for 50 years and we hope to be here for another 50. We both used to joke that we’d be here on zimmer frames, and it’s looking like that will come true.”