December 11 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, September 14, 2013
Like his father before him, Marty Rice has been running shops in Great Yarmouth his whole working life. And while high street stores across the UK struggle against competition and changing consumer habits, Mr Rice’s Yarmouth store paints a positive picture for independent traders.
This month marked a milestone as he and his wife, Beverley, completed the major refurbishment of the Bizarre Bizarre Trading Co gift shop on Regent Street.
“All the seaside towns have taken a hit and Yarmouth gets a bad press, so it’s nice to still be in business,” he said: “When you work for yourself, there are good sides and bad sides. What has been really lovely is getting feedback from customers. And the bank holiday was really busy for us.”
Bizarre Bizarre, an Aladdin’s cave of trinkets and hand-picked gifts, has been open for 18 years at various locations.
In 1969 Mr Rice started work alongside his father at Martyn’s in Regent Road. It was while working in the store that he met his future wife Beverley, who also came from a local business background.
“When I left Regent Road, it was to go to Deneside where we opened a store called Pandora’s Box,” he said.
The couple moved to the Regent Street site eight years ago when the larger premises became available.
They had wanted to give the store a make-over for some time, but had to wait as the shop needed to stay open throughout the refit.
And while admitting that running a shop in Yarmouth during tough economic times was not always a picnic, Marty said he and Beverley do it because they love it.
“Running a shop is all I’ve known; it’s what we do,” he said.
“It has its ups and downs. Business isn’t easy. A lot of shops have opened and closed over the years.
“I think we’ve survived because we always have new stock in, different things for the regular customers and we try and look after them the best we can.
“Also, Beverley and I are complete partners. I could not do it by myself.”
Richard McInroy, one of six people employed by the couple, said the bosses deserved high praise for their hard work.
“I think everyone would honestly say they are two of the loveliest people you could meet,” he said.
“They would do anything for anyone. All the staff work hard in the shop and, really, we do it for them.”