In the days following the purchase of the land, Welwyn Garden City Limited was set up to plan and build the town. Although undertaking many projects, of most significance to this story was the construction of Welwyn Stores Ltd, which opened for business in 1921.
Welwyn Stores Ltd was principally an all encompassing department store, selling a multitude of products and offering a variety of services. However, it doubled up as a social centre and a community hub for residents. In 1922, a small extension added to the side of the store became a public hall.
The store experienced great highs and lows throughout the 1920’s. Despite initial successes and expansion including amongst other things a bakery and a restaurant, the company was forced to cease trading in 1929, following a £9000 recorded deficit in 1928. This signalled the death of the first incarnation of Welwyn Stores Ltd. Out of the ashes rose Welwyn Stores (1929) Limited, trading from a 30,000 square foot glorified wooden box.By the late thirties, fortunes were such that a new permanent building could finally be built. Building began in 1938, and the new store was opened in 1939.