All change in Norwich Lanes
Your independent shopping quarter is going through some changes this month. Emma Harrowing takes a closer look at what's happening in Norwich Lanes.
It's all change in Norwich Lanes this month as seven shops and businesses are on the move.
Philip Browne, Imeldas Shoe Boutique, Daisy & Lola, Walkers and Elements are all moving to different premises in Norwich Lanes. Finnies Juice Bar on Lower Goat Lane is expanding into the shop next door and Lisa Angel Jewellery, who has a ministore in Chapelfield, is opening an additional boutique in Norwich Lanes.
The move is set to happen by the end of the month and will give Norwich Lanes a fresh new look and will give the retailers concerned the opportunity to bring more ranges and fashion collections to Norwich.
On Guildhall Hill, Philip Browne is moving down the hill to where bathroom boutique the Albion Bath Company was. The empty Philip Browne shop will be taken over by Imelda's Shoe Boutique.
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'History is repeating itself with this move,' says Philip Browne who opened the Philip Browne boutique in Norwich almost 25 years ago. 'In 1996 we moved from where Imelda's is at the moment to our current boutique on Guildhall Hill and Imelda's moved into our old premises from Pottergate. Now this is happening again with the shoe boutique moving into our store.
'Our move into the old Albion Bath showroom will enable us to bring more brands to Norwich shoppers.'
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Imelda's are also looking to introduce new brands once they have moved into Philip Browne's old premises. Classic Swedish brand Vagabond and quirky Brighton boutique label Yoma are two of the new collections set to come to Norwich following Imelda's move into bigger premises.
Imelda's owner, Irene Astley, says that the move will also give more space to the boutique's accessories range: 'We will have more space to display our collection of silk scarves, jewellery and bags and there will be more room for customers to try on footwear.
'This is a great opportunity for us to grow.'
The move will see 2a Guildhall Hill, where Imelda's currently resides, turned into a coffee shop called Ground, which will be owned and managed by Irene's husband. Plans are still under review with the council, however, Irene is certain that the coffee shop will be open in the first half of October.
As The Blue Jean Company closes its doors after 25 years in the city, its sister store Elements is rumoured to be expanding into the large boutique. Finnie's Juice Bar at the bottom of Lower Goat Lane is also expanding into the shop next door. Retro and vintage inspired fashion boutique Daisy & Lola, currently at the top of Lower Goat Lane, is moving to where Walkers of Pottergate is and Walkers are moving to the Walkers Building on Upper Goat Lane.
Anne Rowe, owner of Walkers, says the move is necessary as they have outgrown their current premises: 'The new store has three storeys. The ground and first floors will be refitted to create an artistic and spacious display and shopping area. The top floor will house a photographic studio which will help us expand our already very successful online business.'
For Sarah Vaissiere, owner of Daisy & Lola, the move into Walkers' old boutique is more of a move to survive.
'Rent and rates are so high on the current shop that the move into Pottergate has given me the opportunity to negotiate on rent with the landlord,' says Sarah.
'The move will enable Daisy & Lola to remain in Norwich Lanes and will give me more capital to invest in new brands from local and national designers.' Daisy & Lola's move will free-up a boutique space in Norwich Lanes for jewellery retailer Lisa Angel, who will be moving into the independent quarter from Chapelfield. Says Lisa Angel operations manager Will Francis: 'Our ministore in Chapelfield continues to flourish, so we are very excited to be opening our Lower Goat Lane store in addition to this in mid October.'
Says Philip Browne: 'All of the moves are great news for Norwich's shopping scene and for the people of Norwich. In fact, it is down to the support of the people who shop in Norwich Lanes that has helped the businesses down here develop and grow.'