Popular newsagent set to celebrate 40th anniversary
- Credit: Brittany Woodman
A Dereham institution is celebrating four decades since it was first established.
This October marks 40 years since Dereham News, also known as Ideal, began trading in the town.
The newsagent opened on October 12, 1981, and has been run by Mark and Carol Stubbs for its entire existence.
Aged 18 at the time, Mr Stubbs had sought help from his parents to set up the business and soon brought his new wife into the fold.
Mr and Mrs Stubbs started out on Quebec Street, where they stayed for 28 years, before moving to Market Place in 2010.
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Despite having to evolve and diversify over the years, Dereham News remains an integral and much-loved part of the town centre.
"When we first started there was only about four places in the town where you could buy a newspaper," said Mr Stubbs.
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"Today we've got 20 delivery rounds which makes a big difference to us."
Mrs Stubbs added: "The core of the business is still the news side of things.
"Really, we've stuck with the traditional newsagent's route. We specialise in the newspapers and magazines and, if we don't stock it, we can often access it.
"With all the deliveries, we have several hundred customers a day before they've even got out of bed."
The coronavirus pandemic was perhaps the first time during their tenure that Mr and Mrs Stubbs have feared for their firm's survival.
Thankfully, the shop was deemed "essential", and thus allowed to stay open.
"It was a very worrying time initially," said Mrs Stubbs.
"It has been very nerve-racking, but our staff have been absolutely brilliant - and they always have. They've seen us through some difficult times and we've weathered the storms."
While newspaper sales have dwindled over the years, the couple insist that it remains central to operations.
"That's still the lifeblood of the business," said Mr Stubbs.
"It's not as busy as it used to be with people coming in for papers, but we still get regulars coming in every day at regular times."
Looking back on their time at the helm, Mrs Stubbs added: "It's the customers that make it, and being able to have that little bit of banter with familiar faces."