Looking back at Norwich's lockdown entrepreneurs and where they are now

Here are five successful Norwich businesses which launched during the pandemic. 

Here are five successful Norwich businesses which launched during the pandemic. - Credit: Archant/Kat Doonan

If the coronavirus pandemic taught us anything, it’s that life is too short - a mantra which inspired many to make big changes and follow their passion. 

Although the last year or so has left many businesses struggling to survive, some of Norwich’s entrepreneurs have proven it is still possible to thrive. 

Here are five successful city businesses which launched during the pandemic. 

Fupburger, burger delivery and restaurant 

Fupburger owner Tom Shiers is the new tenant at The Dog House pub in Norwich, which is getting a £2

Fupburger owner Tom Shiers at The Dog House pub in Norwich. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The burger joint is based at The Dog House in St Georges Street in Norwich and The Harbour Inn at Bridge House in Lowestoft. 

It is a lockdown success story after Tom Shiers, 42, from Halesworth, was made redundant and followed his passion for food going from pop-ups at pubs to two permanent locations. 

It started running a pop-up at The Black Horse in Earlham Road in summer 2020, which was a huge hit. 

Speaking to this paper in December Mr Shiers said: "We are launching two new operations in Gorleston and Great Yarmouth and are hoping to open early next year." 

Fupburger is open 5pm-9pm Mondays, 12pm-9pm Tuesday to Saturday and 12pm-6pm on Sundays.   

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Balloons and Bakes, Old Catton 

Families are invited to the grand opening of Balloons and Bakes in Old Catton on Saturday October 2. 

Balloons and Bakes in Old Catton. - Credit: Helen Kerton

A business offering all of your party favourites opened a one-stop shop in Old Catton back in October

Balloons and Bakes was started by friends and neighbours, Helen Kerton and Julie Wentworth, who both worked from home during lockdown.   

Ms Kerton started a business selling helium balloons and only four doors down, Ms Wentworth was making and selling cakes – so the pair decided to join forces. 

The business offers balloon and cake packages as well as greeting cards, gift wraps, banners, badges and candles.   

She added: “It has been so overwhelming. People in Old Catton are so supportive. We are really grateful to everyone who has supported us and hopefully our first year in business will be a great success.” 

Dough at Deer/The Bun Exchange  

Jeff Taylor, centre, of the Bun Exchange, with Jimmy O'Neil and Michaela Standley.

Jeff Taylor, centre, of the Bun Exchange, with Jimmy O'Neil and Michaela Standley, at the Butcher Bhoy in Exchange Street. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The Bun Exchange has launched at The Butcher Bhoy in Exchange Street, offering beef and fried chicken burgers, wings, loaded fries and sides alongside homemade sauces. 

The new burger joint is from the same team that runs Dough at Deer, a pizza company which launched in January this year at The Reindeer pub in the city before expanding to The Stanford Arms in Lowestoft in October. 

Both businesses are run by Jeff Taylor, 47, who has worked in restaurants for more than 30 years and says his focus will now move to The Bun Exchange. 

Vouchers for the Dough at Deer will still be valid in 2022 at The Bun Exchange, while delivery and takeaways are also set to launch in the new year. 


Tipsy Jar, cocktail deliveries and bar

Laura Whatling, co-owner, Briony Rigby, bartender and Cameron Skinner, supervisor, at Tipsy Jar.

Laura Whatling, co-owner, Briony Rigby, bartender, and Cameron Skinner, supervisor, at Tipsy Jar in Redwell Street in Norwich. - Credit: Danielle Booden

A new cocktail bar in Norwich has shaken up city nightlife with an interactive experience for customers. 

Tipsy Jar opened on the corner of Redwell Street on November 19 and it proved to be an instant hit. 

It is a pandemic success story as the business began in April 2020 as a cocktail delivery business, for people who wanted bar-quality drinks brought to their doors during lockdown.

It is run by couple Laura Whatling, 26, and Ellie Fennell, 25, who live in Sprowston, and Miss Whatling has years of experience working in hospitality. 

Tipsy Jar deliveries were expanded nationwide, but since the new bar opened, they have gone back to local ordering from NR1 to NR14 temporarily. 

Kookie Ko, cookie deliveries  

Kat Doonan's new cookie company Kookie Ko has had hundreds of orders. 

Kat Doonan's new cookie company Kookie Ko has had hundreds of orders. - Credit: Kat Doonan

Kat Doonan, 24, started Kookie Ko in February, offering mixed boxes of cookies for collection from her home in the Marlpit area of Norwich - with vegan options available too.  

Since then, it has expanded to include cookie pies, brownies, blondies, millionaire's cookie bars and more, with treat boxes and postal deliveries across the UK. 

Miss Doonan had always baked in her spare time and when she was furloughed late last year she began experimenting in the kitchen. 

She fine-tuned recipes to create perfect cookies and after giving them to friends they suggested she sold them. 

Since launching, Instagram has been a huge driver of sales and she now has more than 5,000 followers.

An assortment of cookies available from Kookie Ko. 

An assortment of cookies available from Kookie Ko. - Credit: Instagram @harleysphotography