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Bathtubs, bangers and bobsleighs – how Norwich’s independent businesses are beating the Beast from the East

PUBLISHED: 12:35 28 February 2018 | UPDATED: 13:03 28 February 2018

Stacy Robins, left, and Ian Gent of Norfolk Discount Plumbing and Electrical on Plumstead Road fight back against the Beast from the East by turning their display bathtub into Norfolk's finest bobsleigh for hire. Picture: Mark Shields

Stacy Robins, left, and Ian Gent of Norfolk Discount Plumbing and Electrical on Plumstead Road fight back against the Beast from the East by turning their display bathtub into Norfolk's finest bobsleigh for hire. Picture: Mark Shields

Archant

Delayed deliveries and a fall in passing trade haven’t stopped Norwich’s independent business from seeing the lighter side of the Beast from the East.

Jamie Archer of Archers Butchers on Plumstead Road in Norwich. Picture: Mark Shields.Jamie Archer of Archers Butchers on Plumstead Road in Norwich. Picture: Mark Shields.

At Norfolk Discount Plumbing and Electrical, the shop’s display bathtub was transformed into Norfolk’s finest bobsleigh for hire – and owner Ian Gent has laid on a tongue-in-cheek offer on suntan lotion.

He said the few customers who had made it past the Plumstead Road shop had been asking for a ride in the bobsleigh, rather than risking the steep incline of Kett’s Hill in their cars.

“You’ve got to smile in these situations, and if you can make someone else laugh that’s even better,” said the 52-year-old, adding that he and employee Stacy Robins had already dug out a neighbour’s car.

“We were expecting three or four deliveries today, and I don’t think they’ll be turning up. We were supposed to be doing deliveries today but I’m not going to risk sending staff out in this weather.

“Our deliveries were coming from Kent and Tewkesbury, but if you have an empty lorry to go back then it will be sliding everywhere.

“You couldn’t afford this weather every day but when it happens you just have to get on with it.”

The team at Archers Butchers on Plumstead Road in Norwich. Picture: Mark Shields.The team at Archers Butchers on Plumstead Road in Norwich. Picture: Mark Shields.

Further up Plumstead Road, at Archers Butchers, the team of 10 had the shop open bright and early – but were expecting a quiet day.

Owner Jamie Archer said only one delivery had been cancelled so far but he felt it was important to remain open for customers nearby who couldn’t make it to a supermarket.

“We’ll struggle for deliveries today, I think, but it’s a good opportunity to get ahead with prep work for the weekend,” he said.

“There is a knock-on impact of the pigs not coming today, but we can get them cut up and make sausages tomorrow. If the weather stays like this, it could be a problem. There won’t be many people in, so we can handle them being a day late.”

Rebecca Savage, owner of The Cafe Club on the corner of King Street and Rose Lane, said business had been slow because of the lack of passing trade.

“I’ve had no deliveries yet and I’m assuming it’s difficult for them. I’ve not had any bread or groceries, but I have enough to get by.

Rebecca Savage, owner of The Cafe Club on King Street. Picture: Mark Shields.Rebecca Savage, owner of The Cafe Club on King Street. Picture: Mark Shields.

“We’ve had a few customers, but not many. The people of Norwich have got to get their coffee from somewhere.

“I came in because we have a catering job today and I didn’t want to let a customer down.”

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