Key markets/Gateway

115 High Street - Tale of a shop unit
By Jim Devlin

As far as can be told the shop beside Lion lane was originally a Key Markets store.  This supermarket occupying the large unit in the development which replaced Hensman’s Garage which in turn replaced the Temperance Hotel.

The Key Markets chain of stores owned by Fitch Lovell were acquired by the Dee Corporation which owned the Gateway stores in 1983 and rebranded to the Gateway brand. During the early 1990s the Gateway brand was gradually changed to Somerfield and the company renamed Somerfield plc in 1994. The logos to the right show the gradual changing of the logos.

In 2008 Somerfield plc was acquired by the Co-Operative Group which continued to run the store under the Somerfield name as it already had two Co-op stores in the town. The store had been suffering for a number of years since Waitrose had opened a large store opposite and when the lease came up for renewal the Co-op decided to surrender their lease and closed the store in 2009/10.

A prime High Street site like this did not lie idle for long as at this time High Streets were still thriving and Poundland quickly moved to take up the shop unit. They have been trading successfully here since 2010.

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  • According to my research the Key Markets logo was a yellow/gold key on a dark blue background. I’m afraid the photo that we have of the logo, apparently is not very true to colour.

    By Editor (14/07/2021)
  • Key Markets was not the first supermarket on that site. I remember it opening, though I could not possibly give a date beyond an approximation (c1970). My memory suggests something dark blue, but that would be the memory of a 2-3 year old.

    By Matthew Wallis (12/07/2021)
  • I can remember having my Ford Anglia serviced at Hensman’s garage in 1970 and later, my mother used to work in Keymarkets. Sometime in the late 70s I spotted Mrs Gay queuing up at the till. She was my teacher at Gt Burstead Primary School in 1956. It’s good to see Poundland thriving on this site but then again, Poundland would thrive anywhere! When I grew up in the 1950’s there were, and still are, 6 pubs in the High Street and only 2 cafes – Speeds café or if you were posh, The Chantry. Now there are 44, yes, 44 eating establishments (including the pubs) Sign of the times!

    By Terry Godfrey Lockhart (07/03/2021)
  • I started working for Keymarkets as a Saturday girl then worked full time until 1988 when I moved to Hemsby Norfolk.
    I have great memories not only from my work colleagues but customers too I often wonder what their babies are doing now .

    By Tina Nudd (08/02/2021)

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