It is rather sad that F W Woolworth, ‘Woolies’, may be no more.
With the imminent loss of thousands of jobs, many of them in Northern Ireland, I wonder what F W Woolworth’s thoughts would be if he were alive today?
F W Woolworth, or Frank Woolworth, the man behind the five-and-dime stores is also famous for another project — the Woolworth Building in New York, built 1910-1913 in neo-Gothic style, 60 storeys high, reaching almost 800 feet into the Manhattan skyline. The building was the tallest in the world and remained so until the title was captured, 17 years later in 1930, by the equally iconic Chrysler Building.
The ‘Cathedral of Commerce’ as named by a leading clergy
man of the day, the Rev S Parkes Cadman, was loved and disliked in equal measure through the decades. The New York Times described it as one of the greatest skyscrapers ever.
Like all entrepreneurial men, there are many stories told of their exceptional drive. One such story, unique to Frank Woolworth, has resonance in today’s ‘credit crunch’.
The banks would not lend him the money for the project so he raised the then staggering sum of $13m dollars from profits from his nickel-and-dime stores and paid for the building with cash.
I believe Alan Sugar recently purchased a number of shares in F W Woolworth. I wonder would he have the drive and independence that Frank had and turn the High Street icon around?
M W WOODS