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Iconic shop closes after 50 years

Underwear shop owner Barbara Jenkins of Bumps and Boobs retires after 50 years serving the people of Worksop

Underwear shop owner Barbara Jenkins of Bumps and Boobs retires after 50 years serving the people of Worksop

CORSETS, panty girdles and petticoats were what women wore under their clothes when Barbara Jenkins started out in the underwear trade.

Nowadays, she still sells these classic items in her well known Worksop shop Bumps and Boobs on Bridge Street.

But hanging alongside them in her Aladdin’s cave of undies is every kind of bra or knicker you can imagine.

“I have seen every fashion or fad there has been - from Wonderbras to Magic Pants and those awful chicken fillet things,” said Barbara, who has run the shop for 50 years.

And over that time Barbara has built up a huge customer base of women - and men - who trust her implicitly.

“I love my customers. They come in and have a chat, not always to buy things. That’s what I’m going to miss,” said Barbara, from Sheffield.

Because in just a few weeks, the shop will be closing its doors for the last time as Barbara hangs up her tape measure and retires.

“ I have always enjoyed meeting people and making sure they get what they are looking for,” said Barbara.

“It doesn’t matter if they are spending £50 or 25p, they all get the same treatment.”

“I like to make sure they are comfortable and I think I have mostly succeeded in that.”

“I rarely see anyone who is particularly embarrassed about coming in the shop. I can do a bra fitting in four minutes but I always stand behind them to do the measuring - it’s about dignity and respect.”

“They can go anywhere and buy a pair of knickers but they choose to come to me and that’s a privilege.”

Barbara started out on Worksop Market when she was just a teenager.

She said: “I remember the market manager was Jerry Burton. He was a sergeant major in the army and he was strict but fair.”

“Sometimes in the high winds the stalls would roll over and the undies would fly everywhere.”

Then she moved into a shop further down Bridge Street, where the current Poundstretcher shop is.

“I wanted to call the shop Knickers and Knockers, but they wouldn’t allow it. They said it was too rude,” she said.

So Bumps and Boobs it was, and the name has stuck.

At one stage Barbara had a small empire of underwear shops and stalls, trading in Newark, Chesterfield and even Nottingham.

But now Worksop is the last one standing. And many people will be sad to see it go.

She said: “We are trying to sell off as much stock as possible before the shop closes. Most items are reduced to clear now, so people can grab some real bargains.”

One of the hardest wrenches will be saying goodbye to the faithful staff Barbara has employed at Bumps and Boobs for many years.

“June and Linda have both been brilliant and I must thank them. June has been here 17 years. It think it’s a good sense of humour that has kept us all going so long,” said Barbara, a grandma to four girls. “We have a lot of fun with our customers. There is something every day that makes me laugh in this shop.”

She recounts the time when someone came in asking to buy the ‘catheter’ which was displayed in the window.

“I thought she had got completely the wrong shop, until I realised she meant a kaftan.”

“We also get a people asking for ‘incompetence pads’,” Barbara chuckled.

But it’s not all fun and games. The Bumps and Boobs team have become trusted confidantes to a wide range of people. From young girls buying their first bra, women who need measuring after a mastectomy, and men wanting to treat their wives and partners to something special.

Barbara said: “Attitudes have really changed over the years. Men used to come in and mutter what they wanted. Now they bring their wives along. It’s lovely.”

“I have met a lot of good friends and have loved having a shop in Worksop. On behalf of everyone I would like to say thank you to all our loyal customers. It has been a pleasure serving you.”

 

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