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Dereham shops to close

PUBLISHED: 13:24 13 February 2008 | UPDATED: 14:27 07 July 2010

Two shops with more than 40 years between them trading in Dereham are to close in the town by Easter.

The loss of Snaffles and Little and Large will see the end of an era of independent ladies wear shops in Dereham and both owners say the town has changed hugely since they first started trading.

Two shops with more than 40 years between them trading in Dereham are to close in the town by Easter.

The loss of Snaffles and Little and Large will see the end of an era of independent ladies wear shops in Dereham and both owners say the town has changed hugely since they first started trading.

Both were set up by local women 20 and 23 years ago respectively, but are closing for different reasons.

Sylvia Gilbert, who runs Little and Large in Quebec street, is 64 and says she is retiring, in the next three to six weeks because of ill health.

The former chamber of trade chairman has been at the shop for 23 years and said she would be very sad the day it finally shut and that she would miss her customers.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it,” she said.

“Dereham has changed a lot. Many of the independent shops have gone, the green grocers, the iron mongers and the gas board.

“And the new shopping precinct has moved the trade to the other end of town.”

Mrs Gilbert, who was born in Scarning and lives in Toftwood with her husband, said she was hoping to take up a computer course. She originally started working for a major fashion chain but bought her own shop when the company went into liquidation.

She started off with children's and mum's wear.

Snaffles, in Nunns Way, has been run by Jane Amos, 54, since 1989. She is now taking early retirement to live in Spain and spend more time with her four grandchildren.

Two years ago a friend of hers died and she has decided to enjoy life. “I want to enjoy my life while I am young enough,” she said.

“But I want to thank all my staff and customers.”

Mrs Amos, who comes from Dereham, started her shop in 1989 as a partnership after working as a financial secretary in a school.

A second shop opened, the one now in Nunns Way, and that eventually was made the sole shop.

Her mum, Joan Kendell, 82, known as mum to many customers, has worked at the shop alongside June Claxton and Pam Youngs.

The shop is due to close on Easter Saturday, if not before if stock sells off.

A third shop, which has been in the town about four years, has closed in the last week.

Gracies, which was run by twin sisters Janet Jones and Susan Fiske, said their rents are too high and there is not enough trade for them to keep going.

They were now looking to sell online and doing home parties instead of having a shop with overheads. The pair, from Taverham and Costessey, closed the shop, in Market Place, on Saturday.

They started with a unit in Norwich 15 years ago selling doll making supplies before moving to Dereham four years ago. They moved to the Market Place two years ago.

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