‘Overwhelming in a good way’ - Barber shop's new manager, 23

Emili's Barbers on Norwich St, Dereham

Emili's Barbers on Norwich St, Dereham - Credit: Submitted

A barber shop’s new 23-year-old manager has spoken of her delight at reopening the shop as coronavirus restrictions eased. 

The Dereham barber shop, previously known as Paul’s, has relaunched under the name Emili’s Barbers, with a redecorated interior to give a more modern feel. 

“In my generation, there are more female barbers, rather than just men, so I wanted to have a slight feminine touch to the place, as well as keeping it quite masculine,” said new owner Emili Spanton. 

Emili Spanton

New owner Emili Spanton said the first day of opening was "overwhelming, in a good way." - Credit: Submitted

The shop is the oldest site of a barbers in the town, as there has been a barber's shop under various names and owners at its Norwich Street location since 1964. 

Following the retirement of previous owner Paul Canham at the end of last year, Ms Spanton said that reopening on April 12 was “overwhelming, in a good way”.


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“It was really exciting for me - it’s been a dream of mine to have my own salon since I was four years old,” said Ms Spanton, who hopes to host a ribbon-opening ceremony for the new shop when restrictions ease to allow larger gatherings.  

The redesigned interior of Emili's Barbers

Ms Spanton carried out a redesign of the shop's interior during lockdown. - Credit: Emili's Barbers

Asked about customers' reactions on the first day back open, Ms Spanton said: “They were so happy, it was really nice. 

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“I do my job because I enjoy making other people feel good about themselves, and that then makes me feel good about myself, so because a lot of people have been a bit down, including myself, with being off for so long, it was really nice to get people in, have a little chat, and make people feel good about themselves again. 

“I’ve got a few elderly customers who live on their own so they haven’t really socialised for nearly a year, properly,” she added. 

The redesigned interior of Emili's Barbers

Ms Spanton carried out a redesign of the shop's interior during lockdown. - Credit: Emili's Barbers

Despite the excitement, Ms Spanton stressed her shop’s commitment to keeping their “heads in the game” on PPE and cleaning down surfaces, to ensure that customers feel comfortable while the pandemic continues. 

Looking ahead to the coming months, Ms Spanton said that she was “optimistic” about restrictions continuing to ease.

“I’m feeling really happy about it. I’m glad we’re back, the sun was shining and everybody seems to be in a good mood. I’m excited to see what the future of Emili’s can bring.”

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