45 Years Of MAGGIE & CO


Maggie & Co are proud to announce their 45th year of business in the bay this month, having first opened in Torquay town centre in 1974. Maggie Dawson, founder of the company, originally began trade at Pink and Blue in Fleet Street before expanding to a larger store, Peanuts, just a short distance from the first. She then moved to the Pavilion in 1987 where the company adopted the new name ‘Maggie & Co’, which has remained for 30 years. Today the store can be found at The Strand with over 30 designer collections from across the globe, having acquired these since the first designer range in 1974, when Maggie began her legacy. Maggie & Co are thankful for their 45 years of celebration and achievement, made successful by the customers who have faithfully supported them every day since.

Maggie and her girls believe in the three S’s – Service, Style and Sophistication. The team, led by Maggie’s daughter Sarah Williams, are renowned for their personal interaction with their customers during the shopping experience, and have been awarded for their service numerous times in the past. In 2005, the company was shortlisted as the Designer Store of the Year in the Drapers Awards, being in the top 5 designer stores nationally. More locally, Maggie & Co was announced Best Retailer in the English Riviera Quality Awards 2004, as well as being awarded Mystery Shopper Torbay Best Retailer. Director Sarah believes they are a ‘destination store’, with clients travelling from all around the country to visit year round. Although the support of their customers has always remained, the collections in store have certainly progressed throughout the years. Maggie & Co has continued to adapt to the different eras in which they have traded. Beginning with designer brands Katherine Hamnett and Antony Price, who dressed singer Bryan Ferry, the company acquired Philippe Salvet, which Maggie claims put the store’s name on the map.  Following this, Maggie & Co stocked collections such as Jenny Packham and Amanda Wakeley. Now their top names include Burberry, Emporio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Escada and Versace.


Not only the most prestigious store in the bay, Maggie & Co are renowned for giving back to the community, and have raised an estimated total of £100,000 over the years for various charities and organisations, including the Samaritans, British Lung Foundation, British Heart Foundation, Rowcroft Hospice, CLIC Sargent, Factory Row and Children’s Hospice South West. They have also been involved in work experience programmes with local schools, enabling young people to learn new skills and experience the working world. Student Phoebe-Jean, who participated in the scheme, stated, “The programme allowed me to learn a lot about myself. I rapidly became more self-reliant, a greater communicator and I learnt more about the world of fashion that I so desperately wanted to be a part of, and so for that alone, I owe Maggie & Co a lot!”

A large amount of money has been raised for the charities through Maggie’s famous fashion shows - their first ever fashion show being in aid of the Samaritans. The company has raised a staggering £35,000 for the British Lung Foundation alone as a result of their ever-popular fashion shows, which Maggie has been hosting since the 70s. 

Their 45th year has not come about without complications, however. Spanning over four decades, the business has had to face several recessions in its time as well as overcome various problems, including the major flood they experienced just this year. During the extreme weather in March 2018, a water pipe burst in the building above the store, causing an overwhelming amount of water to stream in to the premises. The estimated damage was approximately £100,000, with £57,000 of stock being completely ruined. Almost being forced to close down altogether, the staff worked tirelessly to rebuild the store and return to business. Maggie, Sarah and the girls have always been devoted to their work and their customers, so they were determined to keep the store running, not least for the sake of their clients. Sarah says, 'If it were not for the overwhelming support of our clients in the weeks following the flood, we wouldn't be here today. Their dedication and loyalty enabled us to reopen - we are so very thankful'. The family-run business has more cause to celebrate this year, as Maggie’s daughter Sammy has left her position as managing director of a fashion firm to join the company.

Maggie and Sarah thank you for 45 years of customer appreciation – without you they would not be here, and hope that if people continue to support their local stores, Maggie & Co will remain in business for another 45 years. 

Pictured underneath : The evolution of Maggie & Co on The Strand