Doing Norfolk proud: The independents not beaten by lockdown

florist with bouquet of flowers

Danielle Wyatt is operating her floristry business, allowed to continue doing socially distanced deliveries in lockdown according to government rules. She is hoping to 'buck the trend' for orders in January. - Credit: Danielle Wyatt Flowers

It might be against all odds but owners of independent businesses across the county are digging deep and diversifying. 

Firms allowed to stay open in accordance with government rules are finding ways to keep going.

And from fish and chips to bouquets of flowers, their wares are helping put a smile on people's faces amid the pandemic.

Many venues are allowed to sell food and drink as takeaway.

Harry's in Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich, reopened this week for takeaway burger meals and drinks as well as deliveries in the city.

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Annie Serruys posted the news on social media, saying: "We're very excited to be back, head to the website to order from Harry's Hatch."

Fish and chip shops also remain open with owner of No 1 in Cromer, Galton Blackiston, saying: "Sadly we have to close our restaurants again, however the takeaway is open as usual." 

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Other bosses have adapted their business models to get some trade in lockdown.

Ian Hacon and Chris Carr who run Zaks. Pic: Archant

Ian Hacon and Chris Carr who run Zaks. - Credit: Archant

At Zaks American diners, with venues in Norwich and Poringland, owners Ian Hacon and Chris Carr decided to keep the restaurants closed throughout January.

However, they are currently selling merchandise and gift vouchers instead. Mr Hacon said: "I know it's not the start to the year we all hoped for but let's make the best of it."

East of England Co-Op Producer of the Year Norfolk contender Tim Briscoe of Buxton Potatoes. Picture

Tim Briscoe of Buxton Potatoes, who has expanded his collection point for customers to pick up bags of spuds. - Credit: Rae Shirley

Tim Briscoe who owns Buxton Potatoes, near Aylsham, has expanded his takeaway facility with a purpose-built 'isolation station' and honesty box where people can pull up and buy bags of spuds.

"You can park right outside and you don't need to see anyone," he said.

Many independent coffee firms are also still open for takeaways.

At Kofra, with three shops in Norwich; in Onley Street, Bell Road and Upper St Giles, staff said they were determined to keep selling takeaway coffees and cakes to 'lift people's spirits' even though the number of customers had declined.

Owner José De León Guzmán said: "That is how we have been building this community, by staying open every day, all day and not only when it is convenient or just the first Saturday of the month. Over the past few months what has kept us going has been the privilege of seeing new friendships blossom in the Kofra queue."

The team at Kofra in Upper St Giles Street Owner with owner José De Leon Guzman, centre, Matt Harris

The team at Kofra, determined to keep customers smiling, with owner José De Leon Guzman, centre, Matt Harris, and Thomas Savage. - Credit: Archant

Although pubs can't sell takeaway alcohol, Mr Winter's brewery in Norwich is selling bottled beer and gin from its shop with 18 or 36 pint poly boxes available for order and a new delivery service within a seven mile radius. 

Bakeries such as Bread Source are also open with its shops in Norwich and Aylsham operating and the Norwich market stall reopening on January 12. At the Siding Yard bakery, Melton Constable, it too is open but for three days a week throughout January.

Many restaurants across Norfolk are continuing the Dine at Home posh ready meals, which proved such a success over Christmas and New Year's Eve.

Most are operating the service Thursdays to Saturday with others also doing takeaway Sunday lunches.

Those offering meals to click and collect include The Wildebeest, Stoke Holy Cross, the Last Brasserie in Norwich, Benedicts in Norwich, Farmyard, Norwich and the Dial House, Reepham.

Private dining firm Carway-Roe, based in Norwich, run by chef Connor Carway-Roe can offer bespoke meals cooked to order using your favourite ingredients.

You can still order bespoke bouquets of flowers with florists allowed to open for socially distanced deliveries. Danielle Wyatt, who started her own floristry business last year in Old Catton, said: "January can be a notoriously quiet time for the floristry trade. We intend to buck the trend."

bouquet of flowers

A January order from Danielle Wyatt Flowers. - Credit: Danielle Wyatt Flowers

At Flint hair salon, Upper Goat Lane, Norwich, which cannot operate for appointments, owner Conor O’Brien is selling haircare products online.

The firm will post out to any UK address as well as offering a click and collect service from the salon by appointment.

And at Sonkai jewellers, in Norwich's Royal Arcade, they too are having to stay closed but are offering repairs by co-owner Craig Snape or will do bespoke commissions.

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