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Redundant Stead and Simpson staff find work at new independent shoe shop in North Walsham

PUBLISHED: 09:47 14 December 2012

The Shoe Shop, North Walsham Margaret Westwood, right with Gemma Fathalla, Monica Pollitt and Wendy Harris at the new shop in St Nicholas Court. Photo: Steve Adams

The Shoe Shop, North Walsham Margaret Westwood, right with Gemma Fathalla, Monica Pollitt and Wendy Harris at the new shop in St Nicholas Court. Photo: Steve Adams

A new shoe shop opened in North Walsham this week and the smiling faces serving customers belonged to staff made redundant when the town’s Stead and Simpson branch closed last month.

Full-timers Margaret Westgate and Gemma Fathalla, plus part-timers Wendy Harris and Monica Pollitt are now running The Shoe Shop, which opened on Tuesday in the St Nicholas Court precinct.

The shop belongs to Len and Ann Bullimore who heard about the petition signed by more than 2,000 people who wanted to save Stead and Simpson, which had traded in North Walsham for more than 100 years.

Mrs Bullimore, judging that the town would support a new shoe shop, asked Miss Westgate if she would be interested in running one.

“We were all for it,” said Miss Westgate, who had worked at Stead’s for 37 years. “It has been a dreadful time - as if the bottom dropped out of my world. I was very pleased to meet Ann. She’s backing us 100pc.”

Opening day had seen many old customers drop in to wish the team good luck, Miss Westgate added.

“I feel positive about it. North Walsham seems to be behind us. The town has three schools and Paston College so there is the opportunity to take money. I just hope everyone who signed the petition will come and use the shop.”

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