Emily Motts, business development manager at Thorns. Picture: Denise Bradley

New era for Norwich DIY store Thorns

By BEN WOODS Business writer
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
12.00 PM

A family-run business with 178 years of history is rebranding its city centre shop and launching a new online sales site.

Thorns DIY, based on Exchange Street in Norwich, is investing £6,000 in redecorating the exterior of its shop and setting up an e-commerce site later this year.

The announcement comes after the firm recently collected two silver awards at the DIY Week trade awards for Retail Communicator of the Year and Hardware Retailer of the Year.

Emily Motts, business development manager at Thorns, said the retailer was exploring new revenue streams after experiencing a difficult year on the high street, with sales of DIY and gardening goods being hit by the wet weather in the summer.

She added: “It has been a tough and challenging year but we are updating the website and we are exploring the e-commerce side.

“We heard at the DIY Week award ceremony how companies were benefiting from going online, so that is something we want to push.

“It will help, but it is also important to go back to old fashioned customer service that goes a long way and the big retailers seem to forget that.

“Because it has been challenging we have had to come up with new ways of thinking.

“People used to go for the higher end of the market when it came to buying tools. Now, they are looking for something mid-range and cheaper.

Speaking about the shop’s performance last year, Miss Motts said: “The DIY trade and gardening trade has been affected by the weather, but so far our sales are on par with last year.

“But we are keen to explore the e-commerce side of the business to see if it can grow and be beneficial – and if it is really successful then we will look to take on more people.”

The company, which employs 20 staff, was established in 1835 and is the last independent DIY store in Norwich.

The business is run by Peter Motts and his two daughters, Miriam Devlin and Miss Motts, who joined in July last year.