With the Black Friday sales and the start of late night shopping sending crowds flocking to Strand Street, we asked members of the public which shops from years gone by they miss the most and what businesses they’d like to see open in the island.

Sharon Leggate used to work in Woolworths, a popular store that was known for selling everything, and says she’d love to see something similar become available in Douglas, her hometown.

She said: ‘It was a huge part of Douglas, especially at this time of year.

‘It was absolutely brilliant and we’ve still got options but not as many.

‘Being of a certain age I miss all the pick’n’mix and you used to be able to buy records, that’s a long time ago now!

Sharon Leggate

‘We’ve only got one street of shops and that’s the worst thing.

‘I’d like to see Zara, Matalan or even having the outdoor business parks they have in the UK with the usual shops, like B&M, that would be great.

‘Primark would be good but if it comes here it might take away the excitement of going across!’

Stuart McKenzie is from Bournemouth and Melanie Harding from Liverpool.

Both now live in Castletown and said the shops here are a big come down from what’s on offer across.

Stuart said: ‘We have lovely old buildings here, so I’d like to see something like a John Lewis.

‘We need to get brand names in, more designer stuff, not coffee shops.

‘I think it’s hard to get people here because half the shops are empty, there’s more coffee shops than there is clothes shops, and there’s more stuff online.

‘I think Covid had a massive effect, but since Covid has been and gone there’s a good opportunity and a market out there for new stuff, something to bring change and life back in to Douglas.

‘If the Isle of Man wants to attract people it has to do something, and for me starting on Strand Street would be a good start.’

Melanie added: ‘A good old John Lewis or Debenhams, I know it’s gone now but something similar.

‘Lots of high streets have issues, there’s three shops that have shut down and it’s so sad because it’s everywhere.

Mark Henson and Sue Jackson, from Douglas, want to see more sport shops, and say they loved Inter Sport.

Mark said: ‘I’d like more choice, and we’ve always been in to sports and buying sports equipment so it’s frustrating that we’ve only got one shop basically equipment wise.

‘We’ve got what Sports Direct has got or you have to use the internet.

Mark Henson and Sue Jackson

‘It’s all going to be coffee shops soon if we’re not careful!

‘It’s our own fault we’ve got what we’ve got because more and more of us buy online because it’s cheaper and there’s endless choice.

‘But with things like shoes and trainers it’s difficult online.

Sue said: ‘We used to use Turners [Inter Sport] a lot and they had the specialist equipment, like hockey kits, squash kits and football kits.

‘I’d like to see something like Woolies (Woolworths) definitely, we’ve got Jac Stores, Dealz but in Woolies they had everything.

Terry and Carol Jackson, from Port St Mary, also named Woolworths as a store they used to love.

Terry and Carol Jackson

Carol said: ‘We miss Woolworths, I’ve still got pans from Woolworths from years and years ago, it was absolutely amazing and the stuff lasted.

‘I think there’s less shops [in Strand Street] but it’s average for the way things are going now.’

‘We like Marks and Spencers, Boots, TK Maxx and Curphey’s.’

Terry said: ‘Woolworths had nice and friendly staff, that’s what I remember. I do think Strand Street is holding its own to be honest, compared to the UK. We prefer to shop here rather than go online.

‘I would like to see Wetherspoons here though.’