Independent city store 'honoured' to be named UK's retailer of the year

Emily Motts, who continues to run Thorns DIY along with her father and sister. Pic: Archant

Emily Duke, who runs Thorns with her father Peter and sister Miriam. - Credit: Archant

A popular independent DIY store in The Lanes has been named the best in the UK.

Thorns on Exchange Street won the Retailer of the Year at the DIY Week Awards 2022.

The store has been open since 1835 and is a family business currently run by Peter Motts and his daughters Miriam Devlin and Emily Duke.

Emily Duke said: "So many businesses enter including the big national chains like Wickes and Homebase so it's always a great achievement just to make the shortlist.

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Thorns' directors Miriam Devlin and Peter Motts accepting the Retailer of the Year award at the DIY Week Awards - Credit: Thorns

"And to win ‘Retailer of the Year’, which is the most prestigious category within the awards, is a real honour.

"It's something we are incredibly proud of, particularly when retail and many other businesses are going through such unprecedented times."

The award is given by DIY Week, a magazine for retailers and suppliers in home improvement, to recognise excellence in the sector.

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Mrs Duke believes there is so much that sets Thorns apart, saying: "We're unique in so many ways: Our history, building, location and the products we stock.

Thorns DIY in Norwich

Thorns DIY in Norwich, a city institution - Credit: Archant

"We have a great team of knowledgeable staff who are a great asset to the company.

"Our customers appreciate the personal service we give and that you can still come into our shop and purchase something for less than five pence.

"And Norwich Lanes is such a wonderful place to be based. We have many loyal customers who are so supportive of us and for that we are truly grateful."

The pandemic changed the way they did business, Emily added, with a lucky launch that became crucial.

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Directors of Thorns Miriam Devlin and Peter Motts at the DIY Week Awards 2022 - Credit: Thorns

"We did a silent launch of a new website literally three weeks before the pandemic struck," she said.

"It became a lifeline to our business during that time and we now deliver all over the UK.

"Our local delivery service was another add-on that has become incredibly popular within the community."

Thorns is open on Exchange Street from 9am to 5.30pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday.