Norwich phone box turned into cactus shop

This phone box in Tombland, Norwich, is to be used as a tiny shop selling cacti.

This phone box in Tombland, Norwich, is to be used as a tiny shop selling cacti from £3 starter plants to collectibles worth more than £100. - Credit: Daniel Moxon

Making calls from the humble red phone box may be a thing of the past – but that doesn't mean they can't be useful.

At least that's the opinion of Simon Ward, who along with two friends will be opening a new shop in one this week.

Instead of being a place to call friend and family, one of the red phone boxes in newly-revamped Tombland will be the go-to place in Norwich for all your cactus-related needs.

This phone box in Tombland, Norwich, is to be used as a tiny shop selling cacti.

This phone box in Tombland, Norwich, is to be used as a tiny shop selling cacti from £3 starter plants to collectibles worth more than £100. - Credit: Daniel Moxon

The first physical Simply Cactus shop is set to open on Friday, to augment sales made online.

Mr Ward said: "I live just off Tombland and they've just refurbished it all to make it look great. We've been looking for space and I walk past this phone box every single day. The idea just appealed to me.


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"We put all the shelving in place at the weekend and got it prepped and ready, and even then we had a lot of people stop to ask about what we were doing. A few even bought some, even though we weren't technically open yet."

This phone box in Tombland, Norwich, is to be used as a tiny shop selling cacti.

This phone box in Tombland, Norwich, is to be used as a tiny shop selling cacti from £3 starter plants to collectibles worth more than £100. - Credit: Daniel Moxon

The shelves will allow the phone box to be home to several hundred cacti at any one time, while specialist pots, soils and tote bags will also be on sale.

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Prices will range from as little as £3 for 'starter' plants, while there will also be rarer, more collectable examples worth more than £100.

It's the next step of the three friends' business plan, after they began working on the idea during lockdown.

This phone box in Tombland, Norwich, is to be used as a tiny shop selling cacti.

This phone box in Tombland, Norwich, is to be used as a tiny shop selling cacti from £3 starter plants to collectibles worth more than £100. - Credit: Daniel Moxon

They said it was "mercifully time-consuming and a steep learning curve", as they navigated the "nefarious world of importing under Brexit regulations".

After using their time and contacts to being bringing the cacti into the country, they enjoyed immediate success selling on eBay before opening an online shop on Etsy.

Now they have their phone box, and they intend to hold more in-person selling events at markets across Norfolk in the future.

Simply Cactus will be opening on Fridays and Saturdays from June 18, with more days added through the summer – though it will remain closed on rainy days to protect the cacti from water.

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