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Family-run firm to open shop in Royal Arcade

PUBLISHED: 16:07 07 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:45 08 November 2019

Craig Snape and Sara Sweet, owners of Sonkai, pictured in 2011 when they relocated to Dove Street in the Norwich Lanes. They are now moving into the Royal Arcade. Pic: Archant library

Craig Snape and Sara Sweet, owners of Sonkai, pictured in 2011 when they relocated to Dove Street in the Norwich Lanes. They are now moving into the Royal Arcade. Pic: Archant library

Another empty unit in Norwich's Royal Arcade is to be filled before Christmas as a shop owner has announced they are relocating from the Lanes.

Sonkai in Dove Street. Pic: SonkaiSonkai in Dove Street. Pic: Sonkai

Sara Sweet, who runs Sonkai jewellers with partner Craig Snape, is relocating the business from their current location in Dove Street to take up a unit formerly occupied by home furnishings firm Bedlinen Co which has been empty since June.

The move was because the current Sonkai shop in Dove Street is being sold off by its owner meaning Sara and Craig have been looking for somewhere to relocate to for some time. And with rents being offered in the Royal Arcade at a reduced rate by owners Legal & General, they've signed up.

MORE: New restaurant to open in Norwich's Royal Arcade

The unit formerly occupied by Bedlinen Co in the Royal Arcade is going to be taken by Sonkai jewellers, relocating from Norwich Lanes. Pic: Archant libraryThe unit formerly occupied by Bedlinen Co in the Royal Arcade is going to be taken by Sonkai jewellers, relocating from Norwich Lanes. Pic: Archant library

Sara told this newspaper: "We are working goldsmiths, we are an independently-owned, family business and it feels fitting to now move to the arcade for so many reasons. Apart from the fact that we love the beauty of the arcade and the black and gold signage perfectly suits our brand, we are also thrilled to be moving Sonkai there as it has so much history behind it.

"In 2016 we completed a commission for Norwich City Council, which was to design and make new civic chains for the Lord Mayor and Sheriff of Norwich. Researching the local history for the designs was fascinating and we've all remained super passionate about it ever since."

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Sara, whose business will be going into number 9, Royal Arcade, in between Stompers shoe shop and Lady B Loves women's clothing, hopes to be open in early December. She is paying £25,000 a year rent - discounted from £36,000, which she said was not much more than renting in the Lanes.

The move comes as arcade owners Legal & General have been trying to fill half the building's empty units after several businesses pulled out. Earlier this week it was confirmed a new restaurant is going into space created by three empty units.

It's not the first relocation for Sonkai, which started out in 2006 in a tiny store on Exchange Street before, in 2011, moving into bigger premises in Dove Street.

MORE: New shop to open in Gentleman's Walk

Sara said: "We are first and foremost a bespoke jewellers and this will be the same in the new location. In fact, we are going to have fewer display cabinets in the arcade and will only be selling our own in-house designs. All the other jewellery we have in Dove Street is now on sale until we move. Craig is going to have his workbench moved forward into the double window space in the arcade and we will continue to have our two wonderful designers working with him on the shop floor."

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