An entrepreneurial couple are to breathe fresh life into a city centre shop left vacant for more than three years by transforming it into an independent department store – creating 10 news jobs.

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Thomas and Kindi Tembo are launching Boutique Fusions at 25/27 Bedford Street, formerly Just Add Water and known to many as the old Hovell’s shop.

Scheduled to open in March next year, the five-floor, 11,161 sq ft, store will comprise of 12 separate departments championing local and independent brands, including women’s clothing; men’s clothing; a therapy room; an events space; a florist; a skin care section; underwear; homeware and soft furnishings; fine foods and drink; arts and crafts; children’s clothing and toys. The couple said each trader would take home 100pc of their sales in return for paying a quarterly fee to cover business rates, rent, utilities and office space.

The news has been welcomed by some business leaders as a further sign that Norwich’s retail offering is strengthening after being hit with high vacancy rates since its last low period in July 2007.

Mr Tembo, who previously worked in wholesale with his wife, said the store’s concept had drawn significant interest and many businesses had already signed up.

However, they are still looking for another 10 traders to come on board.

Meanwhile, Mrs Tembo said the couple were taking a risk by opening the shop, but are confident it will pay off.

She said: “We have got a fantastic idea, and at the moment we don’t know if it will be successful until we try it.

But we have got the passion and drive to take that risk.

“We believe it will all come down to customer service.

“In this day and age, you often go into a store and feel like you are inconveniencing the staff by being there.

“We feel the customer’s needs are being lost in today’s department stores.”

10 comments

  • Well good luck to them but I fear a business doomed to failure - secondary trading position, high rent & rates. I assume their plan is to sublet the 'departments' to other businesses. If so, what happens when these businesses have a poor month or three..... They can't pay the rent and the whole idea falls apart. I only hope that they negotiated a long rent free period from the Butcher brothers who own the freehold!

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    Norfolk John

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • Every trade listed can be found elsewhere in Norwich and all within walking distance of each other. Good luck is all I can say, cause rent and business rates, and this Council will do their best to finish you off. I would suggest Tom and Kindi ask how many local Market Traders after over 30 years in the trade are calling it a day.

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    che bramley

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • Not "comprise of .. ". 'Comprise.. ' or 'consist of..'

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    Patrick

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • Good luck to them. Hope they can get enough people on board to make it a success.

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    Tone the moan

    Wednesday, December 25, 2013

  • oh good grief, all this doom and gloom, some of you miserable lot never have anything positive to say on any article, Well done to Thomas and Kindi, I wish you well!

    Report this comment

    catalonia13

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • If the store has only 12 separate departments & theyre still looking for 10 more traders to 'come on board' , how is it that they've 'already signed up many businesses'? For many read two?

    Report this comment

    Tudor Bushe

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • Never mind all this cobblers, I hope Sandringham doesn`t get its power cut off, poor darlings.

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    John Bridge

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • How do you know there isn't more than one trader per department Frank? ......... Oh, you don't.

    Report this comment

    Eddie Eel

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • How do you know there isn't more than one trader per department Frank? ......... Oh, you don't.

    Report this comment

    Eddie Eel

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

  • Frank knows a lot Eddie......especially about creating multiple accounts under hilarious names . He was once a woman called Jenny Talia , then there was Emma Rhoyds . And Pyhllis S Tyne. Side splitters all.

    Report this comment

    LARSON.E. WHIPSNADE

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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