Cactus shop selling £95 plants opens in Norwich phone box
- Credit: Denise Bradley
One of Norwich's classic red phone boxes has a new life – plant life, to be exact.
Instead of being the place to make phone calls, it's now the city's go-to destination for exotic cacti from around the world.
Simply Cactus, owned by friends Simon Ward, 53, Timo Malagori, 43, and Dani Tagliaferra, 36, opened on Saturday with a stock full of succulents from £3 starter plants to rare examples with a £95 price tag.
Shelving has been put up on the sides of the box, displaying around 100 examples of different cacti, while the shop part itself is inside where eco-pots, specialist soils and tote bags are also on sale.
The plan had been to debut on Friday, but the wet weather proved a thorny problem – the plants don't like the rain.
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Mr Ward, who runs a pub in London, said: "We've had a lot of interest already from people stopping by.
"Someone from the Norwich branch of the British Cactus Society came by and said others from the group would be coming by regularly. It's gone well so far."
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The shop sells a mixture of traditional plants and more exotic hybrids, imported globally from the likes of Namibia, South Africa, South America and Colorado in the US.
The trio started the business online during lockdown as work in their day jobs dried up.
Mr Tagliaferra is in the events industry, so like Mr Ward has spent many months without work over the past year, while Mr Malagori works in sports insurance.
Through contacts in Italy, they began importing the plants and have been selling online through eBay and Etsy.
They said it was "mercifully time-consuming and a steep learning curve", as they navigated the "nefarious world of importing under Brexit regulations".
Now, they have their physical store in Tombland, and plan to run events at markets across Norwich and the rest of Norfolk in the future.
Simply Cactus will open initially on Fridays and Saturdays – weather permitting – with more sunny days added throughout the summer.