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Jewellery shop reopens after years away - but shuts days later for lockdown

PUBLISHED: 11:24 30 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:31 09 November 2020

Vaughan Parker at the ribbon-cutting for his new shop, opened by High Sheriff of Norfolk, Lady Roberts, and Swaffham Mayoress, Jill Skinner. Picture: Vaughan Parker.

Vaughan Parker at the ribbon-cutting for his new shop, opened by High Sheriff of Norfolk, Lady Roberts, and Swaffham Mayoress, Jill Skinner. Picture: Vaughan Parker.

Vaughan Parker

A Norfolk jewellery shop reopened after a four year absence with an official ribbon-cutting on Halloween - only to close four days later due to England’s second coronavirus lockdown.

Jewellery Unique in Swaffham, which was known as The Jewellery Workshop until its 2016 closure, reopened on Saturday under its new name following extensive renovations.

Vaughan Parker, 55, had closed the shop in order to focus on his other shop in Downham Market.

Mr Parker had been running the Swaffham shop since 1987, taking over from his sister, who started the business in 1980.

When a competing store, The Gem Shop, closed in March of this year, Mr Parker could see there was a new demand for jewellery in the town.

“I spent a lot of time during the first lockdown making it really lovely inside,” said Mr Parker, “renovating everything and redecorating, so it has a new art-deco-style interior with lovely lighting.”

The shop’s reopening coincided with Swaffham’s American-themed Halloween celebrations, in which the High Sheriff of Norfolk, Lady Roberts, judged a fancy-dress costume.

Mr Parker was dressed as a GI Airman to “enter into the spirit of the day” and the ribbon was cut by Swaffham Mayoress Jill Skinner.

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“It went really well,” said Mr Parker, “and we were quite busy all day.”

Later that evening, Boris Johnson appeared live on television to warn of a second national lockdown from Thursday.

“I was disappointed, but I still remain positive that eventually, people are going to want that face-to-face contact and local shops to stay open. That’s the feeling I’ve got from customers since Saturday is that they all really want to support local businesses.”

Mr Parker launched his new website, www.jewelleryunique.co.uk, on Saturday and hopes people contact him with requests for jewellery throughout November.

“I’ll definitely be ready to reopen in December,” said Mr Vaughan, “and let’s hope the lockdown all goes to plan so we can come out of it in four weeks.”

• This newspaper has launched a Shop Local campaign to urge readers to support local independent businesses in the run up to Christmas

Keeping money in Norfolk and Waveney is vital as the economy splutters in the wake of the pandemic. According to research by the Centre for Local Economic Strategies for every £1 spent at an independent business 63p ends up back in the local economy compared to only 5p spent at a national or international retailer.


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