About

Overview

Wattersons is a friendly, family run business in the centre of Omagh, the county town of Tyrone in Northern Ireland. Located in High Street, this well established retail drapery business houses seven departments stocking many top brands for all tastes and sizes.

With 19 staff, the personal touch is always aimed at getting exactly what the customer requires. As well as clothes, the store also stocks a large range of curtain fabrics and bedlinen in our household department and a fully stocked luggage department or if you are stuck for ideas then why not give one of our gift certificates.

The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 9.00 a.m till 5.30 p.m. If you are not familiar with our company and your first contact with us is on-line, we would be delighted to hear from you! Please let us know what your needs and questions are and we will be more than happy to help.

A Brief History

The current proprietors of the business are Mr. Tom Watterson, Mrs. Maretta Watterson and Miss Kathryn Watterson. Tom’s father, Leonard, started the business in Omagh in 1938 and the shop at 37 High Street opened for trading on Thursday 27th October. To celebrate this occasion there was a BIG OPENING SALE with a fantastic opening offer of FREE PANTS – “To introduce our tailoring department we are offering Extra Pants Free with our 50/- Made to-measure Suit”. Tom joined the staff in 1962 and after his father’s death in 1964 he had to take over the reins. Since then it has gone from strength to strength and now is one of the towns most established businesses. The shop has remained in the same premises since 1938, but there have been several renovations and improvements over the years. Despite suffering loss and damage during the troubles the business has always managed to bounce back again thanks to the many loyal customers it has, it still remains as one of the leading stores in the area. It is impossible to tell you everything about Wattersons history, but below are some of the most notable dates concerning the shop so far:-

1951 | First renovation of the building. Living accommodation at the rear of the shop was turned into shop floor space.

1974 | A fire started in an adjoining business and spread to the first floor and roof of the shop. The upstairs section was completely gutted and the roof destroyed.

1976 | Second renovation saw an extension built to the rear of the shop creating more sales floor space. At the same time 35 High Street came on the market so Tom bought the Model Bakery premises and knocked the two buildings into one.

1978 | On the 14th November a car bomb exploded in Bridge Street, outside Kinloch’s butcher shop. The exterior of the shop was badly damaged. Five days later an incendiary device was left in the ladies fashion department upstairs. Fire destroyed the first floor and water caused damage to the ground floor. The shop closed from 20th to the 29th.

1979 | A car bomb close to our premises, went off in April causing yet more exterior damage. The device was parked outside the old AIB Bank in High Street (now LEDU office).

1983 | At the heart of the Christmas rush the shop was devastated again with a third car bomb placed outside the Royal Arms Hotel. On the 16th December the roof and windows were wrecked again.

1988 | In October Wattersons celebrated it’s Golden Jubilee. A special discount event was put on and commemorative pens were issued to regular customers.

1989 | From 13th November the shop opened for six days in the week. It was traditional for shopkeepers to close on a Wednesday but times were now changing giving the public more opportunity to shop.

1992 | Third and most dramatic renovation saw the rear of the shop demolished and built up again taking in more ground. A second floor was added to the rear for storage space. While the work was being carried out in High Street, the mens, boys and casual departments moved to temporary premises in Scarffes Entry. The shop was completely refitted after the building work was completed.

1997 | The shop front was given a facelift. Windows and the roof were renewed and the paintwork was freshened up.

1998 | A car bomb went off in Market Street killing Ann McCombe, Geraldine Breslin and Veda Short. Three of our girls were gone in an instant. It was, and still is, unbelievable that this could have happened to our working family. Doreen Preston suffered horrific injuries and has not returned to work. We think of these girls every day; what Ann, Geraldine and Veda suffered in death and what Doreen has to suffer in life.

2004 | Irene Lyons leaves us in September after 55 years of dedicated service.

2005 | Carol Hagan, David Emery, Mervyn Robinson, Ryan Mills and Neville Hagan ran in the Belfast City Marathon. Through fundraising and sponsorship the staff raised £6750.00 which was given to the Meningitis Trust.

2008 | The business celebrated its 70th Anniversary of trading at High Street in Omagh. A special Anniversary Gift Token giveaw

ay took place in October and November. Special Anniversary pens were also given out to customers and friends. Tom also purchased the adjoining premises formerly known as Gallagher’s Bar at 39 High Street.

2009 | Tom’s eldest daughter, Kathryn, joins the family business after completing University and then spending two years with Shaws in the Republic of Ireland.

2010 | Work started on the construction of our passenger lift at Easter. The toilets at the rear of Gallagher’s were tossed and the lift shaft rose to a height of 40 feet! The lift was commissioned for use at the start of November. Ongoing work is being carried out to resite the front stairs into the old entry between the shop and Gallagher’s.

2011 | Renovation work was completed in March with a new staircase leading to the first floor – this saw a major change to the layout of the shop as you enter the main door.

Staff

The business prides itself on giving personal attention to every customer – there are 15 full time and 3 part time employees working in Wattersons along with other casual staff who come and go during their school and college holidays…

Menswear & Boyswear : Tom Watterson | George Carmichael | William Robinson  | Craig Heaney
Household : Carol Hagan | Garry Moore | Sandra Graham | Austin McElholm
Casualwear : Jill McDowell | Mervyn Robinson
Ladies Fashions : Joan Gardener | Sandra Allen | Roberta McKnight
Ladies Underwear & Hosiery : Lilian Hetherington | Hazel Young
Childrenswear & Luggage : Phyllis Hall
Office : Kathryn Watterson | Neville Hagan | Ruth Hannigan