‘Covid has taken the joy out of retail’: Fashion store owners closing down after 23 years
PUBLISHED: 06:44 11 August 2020 | UPDATED: 11:55 11 August 2020
The owners of long-running Norwich fashion brand Vanilla are closing the boutique but the business will continue online.
Husband and wife team Abhi and Anita Vadhir are retiring after 23 years of trading but their co-director Louise Lace will take over the business, running it online-only.
A closing down sale will begin in the Vanilla store in Ipswich Road in the first week of September.
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They had planned to retire in 2022 but said coronavirus had made them re-evaluate their lives and they decided they now wanted to spend more time with family including their grandchildren.
“Coronavirus has forced our hand, Covid has taken the joy out of retail,” said Mrs Vadhir. “But this is a positive thing to do, it’s a lifestyle choice, the business is going really well but Covid has made us, like other people in business, reflect and think about how we want to live our life and we’ve been so busy, we’ve worked nearly all our lives and now we want to do other things, we’ve got a house to do up and we want to enjoy our family.
“We had planned to retire in 2022 and go out with a bang; a big party with friends and our amazing customer following, however Covid has seen to it that we will forgo that.
“I know customers will be sad as we were their go to place, but all good things come to an end. Retail has changed so much from when we first started; you used to shut up at 6pm and at 9am the next morning you opened up again and nothing much happened in between. Now social media is 24/7 and if we were in our 30s, we would probably have carrid on but we’re not.
“But Louise will continue the brand and the ethos online.”
The Vadhirs have raised thousands over the years for charity from their fashion shows and events and also mentored staff who have gone on to open their own businesses.
The couple founded Vanilla after negotiating a rent-free period in a dilapidated supermarket in Ipswich Road where they are still there today. In 2000 they opened a second shop in Sprowston Road but in 2012 struggled in a difficult economic climate and took the sad decision to close that store.
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