How did you choose your location?
St Benedicts Street is part of the Norwich Lanes, an area known for quirky, independent shops, restaurants and bars. The premises immediately appealed to me because it is a modern space with big windows and plenty of natural light.
There are parking bays outside and disabled parking opposite. The single-level street access also makes the shop wheelchair- and buggy-friendly.
The daily logistics?
It is open six days a week, 9am-4pm, and run solely by myself.
What is one key feature needed for a great shop?
A warm welcome is always paramount. And, for me, the layout must make sense. I personally feel uncomfortable browsing a cluttered area or looking in an overstocked cabinet – sometimes less really is more.
How do you encourage customers to visit?
I maintain the website and also use flyers to advertise the shop at fairs. I regularly change the front window displays and rotate stock to keep things interesting for returning customers.
How has the market changed?
I have noticed that the public is generally not buying pieces that go on the wall. I’m finding that the demand for traditional antiques such as paintings, mirrors and barometers is waning. The trade is increasingly going online and, in the present climate, the future of independent provincial antique shops is uncertain.
What is the hardest part of having the business at a permanent location?
Running a shop single-handed is restrictive as it limits buying opportunities. On the flip side it gives me plenty of time to attend to the ever-more important online side of my business.
Given an unlimited budget what is one change you would make to the premises?
I would replace my stand-alone display cabinets with wide bespoke fitted cabinets filled with the best quality early English porcelain I could find.
55 St Benedicts Street, Norwich, NR2 4AP