Video: New Norwich department store opens its doors

The opening of the new department store, Boutique Fusions, in Bedford Street. The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Keith Driver, between managing directors Thomas and Kindi Tembo, front, with the concessions owners. Picture: Denise Bradley The opening of the new department store, Boutique Fusions, in Bedford Street. The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Keith Driver, between managing directors Thomas and Kindi Tembo, front, with the concessions owners. Picture: Denise Bradley

Friday, March 21, 2014
12:32 PM

Norwich welcomed a new department store yesterday when Boutique Fusions opened its doors for the first time.

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The opening of the new department store, Boutique Fusions, in Bedford Street. Picture: Denise BradleyThe opening of the new department store, Boutique Fusions, in Bedford Street. Picture: Denise Bradley

Thomas and Kindi Tembo have transformed 25/27 Bedford Street – formerly Just Add Water and known to many as the old Hovells shop – into a five-floor store dedicated to up-and-coming independent traders.

The business, opened by the Lord Mayor of Norwich Keith Driver with a ribbon cutting ceremony, features 24 retailers across 12 separate departments, 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.

It comes after the latest

figures revealed Norwich had recorded its lowest shop vacancy rates since the start of the recession.

According to Norwich City Council’s latest Shopping Floorspace Monitor, the vacancy rate as a proportion of available floorspace in the city centre stood at 5.3pc this year. This compares to 9.3pc when the last study was made in January 2011, 12.4pc in July 2010, and close to the pre-recession level of 5.2pc seen in July 2007.

Mrs Tembo, who took over the building in December last year, said: “From a business perspective, many smaller retailers aren’t able to run their own store because it’s simply too expensive to rent premises and staffing costs are so high.

“We’re providing affordable retail space and a supportive environment where everything from staffing to marketing is taken care of by Boutique Fusions.”

Each trader takes home 100pc of their sales in return for paying a quarterly fee to cover business rates, rent, utilities and office space, she said.

“We can fit in another one or two concessions and will have a reserve list so we can always ensure the store is full of amazing products.

“The building is very old and listed and, while we didn’t expect the project to be easy, renovating the shop did unravel more problems than we expected,” she added.

“As a new business that was quite a challenge. But it’s all part of the journey of creating something new, from start to finish, and we’re delighted with what we’ve achieved so far.

“We chose the building because it is the perfect layout for a department store, with lots of separate sales areas. It’s also in a fantastic location. All in all it is ideal for our unique concept.”

Are you opening a new business? Contact business writer Ben Woods at ben.woods@archant.co.uk or call 01603 772426.

2 comments

  • I agree - had a quick look round yesterday and looks promising - the muumys little bundle area looked really good.

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    Mr Plinth

    Friday, March 21, 2014

  • It's a great idea and I had a look yesterday and it is really nice inside. Lots of nice things. Fair play to them and good luck to all involved. With shops selling tat, coffee shops and betting shops multiplying like mad, Norwich needs shops like this to stop us becoming like Yarmouth or Lowestoft or Castle Mall.

    Report this comment

    User Removed

    Friday, March 21, 2014

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