Couple call time on running craft shop after almost 15 years

Fiona and Bill Joisce at Knitwits

Fiona and Bill Joisce at Knit Wits & Fabrics in Dereham - Credit: Archant

A craft business which has been going for almost 15 years is preparing to close its doors for the final time.

Knit Wits and Fabrics, in Dereham, will shut for good on Saturday, July 23.

Fiona and Bill Joisce, who have been running the firm from day one, announced last year their plans to retire, with Mr Joisce heading towards his late seventies. 

Knit Wits and Fabrics staff member Lisa Waterhouse, left, and co-owner Fiona Joisce. The shop sells

Knit Wits and Fabrics co-owner Fiona Joisce (right) with staff member Lisa Waterhouse - Credit: Archant

Hoping the High Street shop would be taken over by someone new, there followed a 15-month search to find someone to take up the mantle. 

But, much to the couple's sadness, no-one has taken up the offer. Despite interest from a number of parties, their search for a successor has been brought to an end. 

Mrs Joisce said: "With Bill aged 77, if we do not stop now, when will we get our time together? 

“We are a bit sad that we were not able to sell it on as I feel there is a big need for a business like this.

“Despite that, we are excited to do what we want, when we want in the future.”

The former Knit Wits shop in Dereham Market Place, which is next to William H Brown. Picture: Matthe

The former Knit Wits shop in Dereham Market Place - Credit: Matthew Usher

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Mr and Mrs Joisce established Knit Wits & Fabrics from the ground up back in 2007 - in the thick of the recession. 

Since then, they have moved premises twice having outgrown their previous stores. 

Despite experiencing a tough couple of years, Knit Wits survived the pandemic due to a small boom in crafting in the town. 

Mrs Joisce was even able to shift the business to a click-and-collect system during lockdown, helping those stuck indoors to pass the time with creative projects. 

“People would message and ask if we had something for their project, and they could come and pick it up,” added Mrs Joisce.

Fiona Joisce, owner of Knit Wits & Fabrics in Dereham. Picture: Knit Wits & Fabrics

Fiona Joisce, owner of Knit Wits & Fabrics in Dereham. - Credit: Archant

Despite the impending closure, the pair hope their current unit won't stay empty for too long. 

As owners of the building, they will be putting the space up for auction on Wednesday, July 27. 

For now, the shop has an ongoing closing-down promotion, with 20pc off all fabrics, yarns and patterns until it closes.

Mrs Joisce added: "It is very sad that we are calling time on our business but, at the same time, there is excitement for what the future may hold. 

“We just want to enjoy our time together, but who knows what the future holds.”