Shoppers gave South Tyneside's newest store a warm welcome on its first day of trading.
After months of revamp work, Boyes opened its doors for the first time in King Street. South Shields,today
The shop, which sells everything from beauty products to clothes and hardware items, fills the vacant spot which was left when Marks and Spencer closed in 2014.
A number of customers eagerly awaited the official opening of Boyes - which has created 25 part-time jobs.
But within minutes the chain - which has over 50 stores across the country - had its first customer, Frank Ebdon, 56, from Whiteleas.
The chemist delivery driver said: “I never expected to be the first ever customer, I was just in a dash before work started.
“I bought a vacuum cleaner and a new jumper.
“ I had spotted the vacuum cleaner when I was looking at the window display the other day, so I knew already that I wanted that and the lady showed me where to go.
“Admittedly I haven’t had a chance to look around properly since I am in a hurry, but I will definitely be back, it looks really good.”
Mavis Agent, 68, from Marsden, South Shields, was also quick to fill her basket.
She said: “I can’t get over how different it looks to M&S, it’s just so big and bright and spacious.
“I’ve never been into a Boyes store before but I am very impressed and I received some free chocolate too.
“It seems to sell everything, all the DIY bits and bobs my husband likes, toiletries and things that I like, plus all of the other essentials.
“It’s all the things that you end up forgetting to pick in other shops - they’re all here.”
Andrew Boyes, chairman, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be opening our latest store in South Shields.
"This site was in a dilapidated position when we first moved in and there's been massive changes.
"We are in a prime location here, and as regeneration of the town centre continues we hope other businesses will see the opportunities to be had here, like we did.
"Our aim is to bring something that little bit different to shoppers."
Laughing he added: “I always say if we don't sell it, then you don’t really need it.”
Coun John Anglin, Lead Member for Regeneration and Economy at South Tyneside Council, said: ““The store will be a great addition to King Street and will enhance the town centre’s retail offer.
“Our 365 masterplan is all about providing the right infrastructure and conditions to give the private sector the confidence to invest and I’m delighted to see that that is starting to happen.”