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Dereham bucks the trend

PUBLISHED: 15:19 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 14:37 07 July 2010

While most towns have seen the rapid decline of traditional green grocers, Dereham is bucking the trend.

It has been more than 15 years since Dereham town centre had a fruit and vegetable shop - and that one only lasted just over two years.

While most towns have seen the rapid decline of traditional green grocers, Dereham is bucking the trend.

It has been more than 15 years since Dereham town centre had a fruit and vegetable shop - and that one only lasted just over two years.

Before that the last greengrocer, Wacey's, packed up shop 30 years ago.

HM Revenue & Customs, which has a record of every VAT-registered business in the country, says there has been a drop of nearly 3,000 greengrocers, or half of those that were open, in the past 10 years.

Its figures showed that in April 1997 there were 6,916 registered greengrocers. By April this year, that had fallen to just 3,948 - a fall equivalent to five closing every single week for the last 11 years.

But now Tacim Dilek, a 36-year-old who was brought up helping to run his father's greengrocer shop in Turkey has opened a new greengrocers in Church Street.

Mr Dilek says it has been hard the world over for small businesses to compete against large supermarkets. But that he was willing to give it a go, having started out in the trade aged just 12.

“We decided to take the chance,” he said. “Dereham did not have a greengrocer.

“It is hard to compete with the big stores and that is something that is happening all over the world. The government is trying to take big stores out of town centres to keep small businesses going.

“And here there are many middle aged and older people who like to come to town for the post office and bank and pick up their shopping at smaller shops like ours.

“People have been very supportive.”

Michael Fanthorpe, who is on the town and district councils, said: “We are so lucky that someone is going to sell fresh fruit and veg, it is good for the town.”

He said a veg shop in the High Street closed about 15 years ago after being open just two and a half years. Wacey's, who sold produce off their seven allotments, closed 30 years ago.

Sheddicks, who were in Market Place, closed about 40 years ago in the early 1960s, he said.

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