WITH millions of us now streaming our music, record store HMV seemed doomed to extinction.
Yet remarkably, the 100-year-old business – which has been in and out of administration – will open ten new stores next year.
The news offers hope that other much-loved former shops might reappear on the high street.
Grant Rollings asks five Sun favourites which chains they would like to see return.
‘The least nerdy of the old geek emporiums’, Alex James
Maplin – closed 2018
OH how I miss Maplin. True, there were never many girls to talk to among the piles of radio transmitters and audio cables, but it was slightly less nerdy than similar bygone geek emporiums such as Tandy or Radio Shack.
You never knew quite what you might find there. There was always some piece of brand new, cheap and cheerful technology on offer – but it was the lights that I really loved.
Every room in the house I grew up in had just one bulb dangling from a flex in the ceiling, but at Maplin you could more or less kit out an entire disco for a couple of hundred quid.
My top buy was a spinny, flashy bulb you could screw into any lamp fitting, turning a hotel room into a disco in ten seconds flat.
Sadly, I left it in The Plaza hotel in Buenos Aires after a particularly good night.
‘Such excitement – and don’t forget that jingle’, Rhian Sugden
Toys R Us – closed 2018
THIS store was kid heaven. The joy I got from being taken there when I was younger is immeasurable.
We would visit right before Christmas for inspiration for my wish list to Santa. Even walking up to it, I felt a rush of excitement that I could spend what seemed like hours choosing my gift.
Trying out the bikes and scooters, squeezing all the dolls and touching the toy food. I have clear memories of me and my friends running around in awe of everything. It was brilliant.
I can’t think of anywhere quite like it nowadays. When I have children I would love to have been able to take them there for a look around.
And let’s not forget, the Toys R Us jingle still has to be one of the most enduring tunes in retail history. Bring back mascot Geoffrey!
‘Lusting over flares and the cheesecloth shirts’, Jane Moore
Chelsea Girl – became River Island in 1988
WHEN I was a teenager, Chelsea Girl was the place to shop.
David Cassidy corduroy jackets, Bay City Roller flares, cheesecloth shirts – you name the latest trend, Chelsea Girl had it.
It was the highlight of my week to meet my friends there on a Saturday afternoon and lust over the latest fashions that none of us could afford.
The only time I could buy something was my birthday or Christmas when, to my horror, my mother (as the paying customer) would insist on coming there with me and make naff comments about the clothes.
If Chelsea Girl came back now, and I took my daughters there, they would probably say, ‘Mum, there are a hundred other shops like this one’, but at the time, it was unique and thrilling.
‘CDs, books, coffee – all in one giant space’, Tony Parsons
Borders – closed 2009
PART record store, part book shop, part groovy cafe, it seemed to be a modern hybrid of all the stores I had loved growing up.
The one on Charing Cross Road in central London was my favourite. It seemed to suddenly appear in the dying days of the last century and felt like a giant American cathedral to consumerism.
You could get anything in there – CDs, books, DVDs, coffee. Or you could just kill time.
It felt like the high street’s last great hurrah, where you could spend every penny you had or nothing at all.
Looking back, it was only possible in the days before the internet. How soon we would buy our books and our music from Amazon. How soon Borders would disappear into the mists of time.
But I spent many happy wasted hours in there. And it gave me the kind of quiet pleasure you can’t get shopping online.
‘A shop so boring, I was allowed to wander off’, Rod Liddle
Binns – closed 2006
A GREAT name for a chain of department stores, there was one in Middlesbrough and my mother made a pilgrimage to it every weekend.
She knew the shop was so fantastically boring that it was actually child abuse to force me to stay with her, so I was allowed to wander up to Fearnleys record store (also now gone) and browse the racks of discount American albums.
I could spend hours there. And when I returned to meet my mother she would still be browsing through the same rack of bloody curtain material.
Later she stopped going to Binns because I would be outside selling the Socialist Worker newspaper and the poor woman couldn’t bear to be seen near me. Reasonably enough.
It’s now a House of Fraser, which sounds very grand but I bet it’s still the same old curtain material and dresses.