Town throws reopening party for iconic building gutted by Fakenham fire
PUBLISHED: 11:03 04 August 2018 | UPDATED: 15:56 04 August 2018
Down At The Social
It was once the shocking scene of a devastating fire.
The Original Factory Shop stood empty in Fakenham for four years after the blaze gutted the Aldiss building, on Market Place.
But now the town has come together to celebrate the iconic brand’s return to the town centre.
The rebuilt shop has been under construction since 2014.
And owners, staff, and guests, including representatives from the fire service who battled to save as much of the historic building from the flames as possible, gathered for a reopening party, on Saturday. August 4.
The event celebrated the town’s community spirit, with sweet treats provided by Fakenham baker Sally Scott, singing by the town’s school children, and music from the Fakenham Town Band.
Staff also welcomed guests of honour at the event, including Fakenham mayor George Acheson, and company chairman Tim Aldiss.
Representatives from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Norfolk police were also in attendance.
Mayor Mr Acheson said: “It went very well. Aldiss was the most important shop in Fakenham and it looks splendid now - back to its original Georgian front.
“Tim Aldiss spoke about the history of the building and how it had been altered, and how pleased he was to see it back.
“I made a short speech thanking Mr Aldiss, and especially thanking the fire service for their excellent work and preventing more damage, as well as the staff for returning to the town.”
Fire crew manager Jamie Francis said: “I know the teams at Aldiss and The Original Factory Shop have done a lot to make sure this new launch celebrates local businesses and the good people of Fakenham who have all played an integral part in bring the community, and the Aldiss building itself, back together.”
And Venetia Lake, store manager of The Original Factory Shop in Fakenham said: “There was never a question about The Original Factory Shop returning to Aldiss.
“It’s a piece of Fakenham’s history and something we are extremely proud and humbled to be part of.
“We want this launch to help everyone celebrate the dawning of this new era for Aldiss.
“While people will never forget what happened, we can hopefully help them make and create memories in new surroundings.”