Skipton town centre is getting a boost with the opening of four new businesses.

The former Woolworth’s store in Caroline Square has been taken over by the Yorkshire Trading Company, which sells clothing, DIY goods, toys and even “pick and mix”.

The company, which is negotiating to buy other former Woolworth’s sites, has been interviewing potential staff this week and hopes to be open by Saturday.

Debbie Bath, company secretary, said the shop would employ around 15 staff, possibly including former Woolworth’s employees, with more at busy times of the year and at weekends.

“If it all goes well, we hope to be open for the weekend,” she said. “We are a variety store and there will be something for everyone. We will be selling ‘pick and mix’ sweets, household items and our own Ryedale clothing brand that people might have seen at agricultural shows.”

Mrs Bath said the shop would also sell gardening equipment, stationery and toys and would look at stocking CDs and DVDs in the future.

“This is the second Woolworth’s store we’ve opened in. We’re very excited about being in Skipton as you can’t always get such excellent sites,” she said.

“There are some cosmetic things that need to be done and we need to get our corporate sign up, but we are very happy to be in Skipton.”

* In nearby Sheep Street, family-run sports shop Intersport has taken over the former Silver and Gemstone Jewellery shop and is due to open either today or tomorrow.

Owner Andrew Walker and his business partner and brother Tony Walker already run an Intersport shop in Keighley.

The Skipton shop will be run by Andrew’s wife, Angela, and sister Mandy Foster.

“We’ve been running the shop in Keighley for some time and we get a lot of customers from Skipton who have been asking us why we can’t open there,” said Mr Walker.

The shop will sell major brands of sportswear, shoes and equipment. It will also stock countrywear and there are plans to include shooting equipment.

“We sell air rifles, pellets and catapults in Keighley and are applying for a licence to also sell shooting equipment at the Skipton shop,” said Mr Walker.

* Another family business, Pennine Cruisers, has branched out into catering after taking over the former Pan Loafy’s restaurant in Coach Street.

The family, who run narrow boats and also organise the May bank holiday Waterway Festival, took over the café last month and started opening in the evenings.

Pam Clarke said the business – renamed The Boat House – would be managed by daughter Stephanie.

“We reopened very quietly, but we’re doing very well so far and got a good hygiene award within two weeks of opening,” said Mrs Clarke.

She said the restaurant would be open seven days a week, including for breakfasts and evening meals, and would offer a variety of food to satisfy all tastes.

“We want it to be a nice, family place where tourists and people off the boats can go. It’s a lovely spot and on a nice day people can just sit having something to eat or drink and just watch the world go by,” she said.

“We’ve never done anything like this before and we’re on a very steep learning curve, but we’ve got very experienced chefs working for us.

“What we want to get across is that if people come along and can’t see what they want, then they must ask for it.

“We want to be very flexible and if we’ve got the ingredients we’ll do it.”

* Children’s continental shoe shop, Shooligans, is due to open in Newmarket Street on Monday.

The shop will sell shoes for children from France, Italy and Germany in a wide variety of fittings, colours and designs.

Owner Alison Dewhurst, who also has a shop in Harrogate, said she was confident that the shop would be a success.

“We have a lot of customers from the Skipton area and we thought there was a niche in the market,” she said.

To celebrate its opening, the shop will have a clown in store next Saturday, April 25, from 11am to 3pm.