Closed down before opening - new shop owner’s joy as she finally gets to realise dream
A mum whose dream of opening her own shop was nearly dashed because of lockdown is finally starting up in the Norwich Lanes.
Emma Biggie, mother of three-year-old Isamaya, had just picked up the keys to her new shop in Dove Street when she had to abandon plans of opening.
But she is now looking forward to opening Flicka, which means ‘girl’ in Swedish, seven days to a week to sell children’s wear, toys and accessories for nurseries from July 4.
Ms Biggie, who worked for a financial advisory firm, aided by partner Matt Bradshaw, a graphic designer, said she was inspired to open a children’s boutique because of the lack of choice in Norwich shops. And although many retailers are choosing to exit the high street, she firmly believes independent shops in Norwich will entice customers back shopping.
She said: “The week we went into lockdown we were due to collect our keys. We’d worked so hard to ensure we had the perfect premises, we’d secured a start-up government loan and put a lot of work and effort into finalising everything. Suddenly it felt like it had all come crashing down with every shop closing and no one leaving their homes. The future of Flicka was so unclear.
“I thought how was I going to pay the rent, all of these things and I hadn’t even opened, how can we even do it?”
But her landlord granted a rent holiday and she said lockdown gave them more time to get the shop ready, situated in premises formerly used by an arts charity, the Colin and Susan Ticktum charitable trust, which relocated to Upper St Giles Street.
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Ms Biggie said she was inspired after looking for clothes and decor for her daughter’s nursery but being unable to find much in high street stores.
“There is a lot of choice online but I felt Norwich didn’t offer much for nurseries and children’s clothes in a certain style. I was looking for a Scandinavian style which is simplistic and natural and just felt Norwich didn’t offer that.
“I think people like to see and feel baby products and I think there will be a lot of mums who want to come out of lockdown and go shopping. I also think people do support local businesses on the independent high street so I think shoppers will come back.”