Wollaston Doc Shop staff 'booted out' as popular Dr Martens outlet to close

The Doc Shop has been selling bargain boots and shoes for decades

Friday, 8th April 2022, 9:33 am

Wollaston’s iconic Dr Martens outlet store, known as the Doc Shop, is to close permanently this summer.

As the factory shop for one of the fashion world’s most famous brands, the store attracts visitors from across the globe as well as canny locals looking to pick up a bargain pair of Docs shoes and boots.

The Griggs family had been making boots for six decades before the Dr Martens boot was born and they sold the brand in 2014 to the Permira investment group, which retained its Wollaston HQ and shop. But on Tuesday (April 5) the 12 members of staff were informed of the shop’s closure.

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The Doc Shop, Wollaston

A member of staff who wished to remain anonymous said: "They have given us three months. We have been booted out even though it’s really successful. I’m devastated, angry and disgusted."

Based down the High Street from the Cobbs Lane Airwair HQ, the factory outlet has been selling its range of quality shoes and boots at big discounts.

But when it closes there will no longer be a Doc Shop in the county where they come from.

The employee said: “Customers come from the USA and Japan. It’s a ludicrous decision. There were floods of tears – the guy telling us couldn’t look us in the eye. They said there might be other roles in the business for us.

The Doc Shop, Wollaston

"I didn’t expect Dr Martens to treat us like this.”

A Dr Martens spokesman said: “We are always reviewing our store estate to ensure it works well for the brand and our customers right across the world.

“Our Doc Shop outlet was originally set up to sell end-of-line products and excess stock but due to the continued success of our business, we no longer have enough of this type of stock to continue to trade from this outlet.

“This has been a difficult decision to make as the Doc Shop has played an integral part in the business for a long time and has close ties to our factory and Cobbs Lane.

“We have now entered into a formal consultation process with all team members impacted by the situation and hope to be able to offer them alternative roles across our business.”

The factory has been in business for 120 years, and throughout the firm’s ups and downs. In 2003, Northamptonshire’s Airwair factories were closed and manufacturing was out-sourced to China.

With a resurgence in sales the brand has been revitalised with a Made in England brand, made at the Wollaston factory, even featuring in an Inside the Factory special with Gregg Wallace.

In 1960 the Griggs family spotted an advert in a trade magazine for a shoe, created by German solicitor Dr Klaus Maertens. After getting an exclusive licence and making a few key changes, the boots were branded as ‘Airwair’ and came complete with a black and yellow heel loop featuring the brand name and the slogan ‘With Bouncing Soles’.

Taking its name from the date of its inception – April 1, 1960 – the eight-holed 1460 Dr. Martens boot had arrived.

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