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Norwich firm's big plans for future

PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:47 02 July 2010

Elaine Maslin

A family-run leisure and camping firm is hoping to create the largest outdoor equipment store in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Norwich Camping and Leisure is relocating from Thorpe St Andrew to its Blofield store to create a superstore under one roof on the 10-acre site there, retaining its Thorpe site to expand its internet sales operation.

A family-run leisure and camping firm is hoping to create the largest outdoor equipment store in Norfolk and Suffolk.

Norwich Camping and Leisure is relocating from Thorpe St Andrew to its Blofield store to create a superstore under one roof on the 10-acre site there, retaining its Thorpe site to expand its internet sales operation.

The firm, set up in the 1973, has a turnover of about £4m, with a 30-strong workforce. Director Trevor Holmes, who runs the business with brother Paul, said turnover grew last year by 12pc - and predicted further growth and an increased in turnover of 10-15pc in the coming year.

He attributed success to the recession as more people looked for affordable holidays and took advantage of warm summer weather to go camping and on weekend outdoor breaks.

“In this area the weather was good and a lot of people were going away camping for weekends,” Mr Holmes said.

“The superstore will mean we will have a bigger range all under one shop. We are also going to expand our internet sales.”

The firm has about 5,000 items on its website, relaunched to coincide with the move to Blofield, and will use the Thorpe site for distribution and storage.

Norwich Camping and Leisure was set up after Paul and Trevor Holmes's father Victor took them for a camping holiday in Denmark where they saw the first of the modern designs of frame tents.

Victor Holmes saw an opportunity to market the new tents back home in Norfolk. With wife Jean and Paul and Trevor, the family started selling from their Norwich home.

By 1990 they had the centre at Thorpe St Andrew and had opened a shop in Magdalen Street in Norwich selling outdoor gear.

The Magdalen Street shop has since closed with the operating moving to South Hill Road and then Blofield in 2004.

Paul was in charge of the Blofield operation and Trevor ran the Thorpe site.

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