An impressive crowd said it was “about time” as they welcomed Wilko back to The Maltings.

Wilko reopened its St Albans location at 9am today (March 29), having closed in October after the company called in administrators.

Ahead of the event, Wilko chief digital officer Ben Exall expected a “great turnout” from residents and the brand got just that with a long line forming well ahead of the ribbon cutting.

Herts Advertiser: Rose (left), with her family.Rose (left), with her family. (Image: Newsquest)
​Amid a strong turnout, Rose, 7, was disappointed to see the queue ahead of her would mean she missed out on the goodie bags available to the first 50 customers, but shared her excitement for the pick-and-mix.

“I was really excited about the fact that it was going to be reopening on the first day of the Easter holiday because you don’t have to go after school,” she added.

Herts Advertiser: Caroline Clark (left) and Jane Reid (right).Caroline Clark (left) and Jane Reid (right). (Image: Newsquest)

Caroline Clark and Jane Reid expect Wilko will bring them back into the city centre much more often.

“It’s very good, there is a lot more choice than before,” Caroline, a charity worker, commented.

Jane added: “It’s better than walking all the way down to The Range, since it’s just around the corner.”

Herts Advertiser: Stephen Sheed.Stephen Sheed. (Image: Newsquest)

Stephen Sheed, 66, said: “I think it’s good its back. I think the Maltings doesn’t bring in a lot of people anymore.

“This will help bring people through a lot more.”

Wilko confirmed that priority was given to ex-Wilko team members when hiring for the branch and both shopper and staff were clearly enthusiastic to be back in-store.

Herts Advertiser: Joanne Bain.Joanne Bain. (Image: Newsquest)

Joanne Bain, a regular customer before the store closed, was “delighted” to see it reopen.

“To go out during a bank holiday, that tells you a lot,” she said.

Herts Advertiser: Chloe Field (left), Rochelle Stapleton with her family (right).Chloe Field (left), Rochelle Stapleton with her family (right). (Image: Newsquest)

Meanwhile Rochelle Stapleton, 34, and Chloe Field, 37, both said it was “about time" Wilko returned. They commented that the city had lacked a good place to pick up household essentials without it.

The shop offers everything customers would expect from Wilko as well as the brand’s first in-store Iceland section, self-service terminals for home delivery, and a Greggs range.

Herts Advertiser: Rosie Merlino.Rosie Merlino. (Image: Newsquest)

Rosie Merlino, who attended on her birthday, was “very happy” with what was on offer.

“It needed to be back,” the 48-year-old added. “It helps people who can’t do stuff on the internet.”

Herts Advertiser: The first customers arrive.The first customers arrive. (Image: Tom Gordon Photography)Herts Advertiser: Inside the store.Inside the store. (Image: Tom Gordon Photography)Herts Advertiser: The pick&mix.The pick&mix. (Image: Tom Gordon Photography)Herts Advertiser: The Wilko St Albans team.The Wilko St Albans team. (Image: Tom Gordon Photography)