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‘It’s been a wonderful journey’: Owners of Norwich’s Vanilla fashion store start closing down sale early

PUBLISHED: 14:05 12 August 2020

Anita Vadhir, left, who is passing the business Vanilla onto co director Louise Lace, right, who will be relaunching it online. Pic: Vanilla

Anita Vadhir, left, who is passing the business Vanilla onto co director Louise Lace, right, who will be relaunching it online. Pic: Vanilla

Archant

Customers at one of Norwich’s most-loved clothing stores have expressed their gratitude and sadness at news the owners are selling up and retiring.

Anita Vadhir, who is retiring from Vanilla fashion store to retire with her husband Abhi. Pic: ArchantAnita Vadhir, who is retiring from Vanilla fashion store to retire with her husband Abhi. Pic: Archant

Abhi and Anita Vadhir announced earlier this week they were closing Vanilla, in Ipswich Road, after 23 years – with the business continuing to be run online by their co-director Louise Lace.

After an overwhelming response from loyal customers, the couple have begun a sale with some items such as handbags already selling out.

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The discounts are only available in store with the website on pause before Ms Lace takes over. The Vadhirs have said they will close the doors for good once all the stock is sold – originally they had planned this to be September but it now could be in a matter of weeks.

Vanilla in Ipswich Road is to close after 23 years but the business will continue online. Pic; ArchantVanilla in Ipswich Road is to close after 23 years but the business will continue online. Pic; Archant

Mrs Vadhir posted an emotional thank you to customers on social media, saying: “We hope to see you all as you come along to snap up the bargains, however, if we don’t, it remains to say a huge thank you. Thank you for your custom, your loyalty, the fun and laughter, the mums, the daughters, watching the children grow up, watching our shapes change and our hair grow grey.

“It’s been a wonderful journey and we couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you from our hearts.”

Customers responded on social media in their hundreds to post their sadness at the shop closure.

“Oh so sad to read this, Vanilla is my favourite shop ... Phil and I have been shopping with you since the Mix ‘n’ Match days on the corner of the Arcade,” one shopper said.

Another added: “I’ve been shopping with you for 23 years and it’s always a special treat.”

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Former shop workers also commented, with one saying: “I loved working here with the girls and the clothes and I loved being a customer for many years before. Thank you for igniting my love of beautiful things.”

But customers also pledged their support to Ms Lace who will continue the business online, launching in September.

Ms Lace, who trained at the London College of Fashion and runs her own photographic styling agency, has worked at Vanilla since 2001 and along with the Vadhirs, helped found Norwich Fashion Week.

Vanilla started after the Vadhirs negotiated a rent-free period in a dilapidated supermarket in Ipswich Road where they are still today.


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