Photo gallery: Sheringham traders’ united pledge as Tesco takes shape
- Credit: Archant
Shopkeepers in Sheringham have united to pledge it will be business as usual when the town's controversial Tesco store opens to the public.
Traders are bracing themselves for the imminent launch of the supermarket giant in Cromer Road, but hope by working together and offering a personal service they will keep the high street alive - as fears have been raised Tesco will slash footfall.
But the national chain said it wants to work with businesses and locals to integrate the new supermarket within the community, and bosses have stressed the 14,000 sq ft store will bring more people into the town, as well as providing around 150 jobs.
The store, due to open before the end of the year, is taking shape on the site of the former community centre after a 17 year planning saga that was finally settled in September 2010 when the supermarket was given the green light.
Anti-Tesco campaigners fought the proposals but now the store has arrived, shopkeepers have accepted its presence in the town and are focusing on the future.
Dawn Fulcher, joint owner of the family run Dawn Fresh greengrocers, thought it would be 'hard work' once Tesco opens but she would champion the elements of her business she felt the national giant could not match.
'You won't get the same service (at Tesco) that you get in here,' she said. 'We get to know our customers personally and a lot of them are our friends.
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'We have been here 20 years and hopefully that will carry us through and support us. The local shops here all work together and help each other.'
Roy Young, owner of Roy Boys cafe, also thought service was a key component to maintaining the high street offer.
He said: 'We're just going to get on with it. At the end of the day I didn't want it to be here but it is. We have just got to make sure we're offering a better service - a personal service - than Tesco.'
Allan Webster, shop manager at J and D Papworth butchers, took a familiar stance to Tesco's arrival and added: 'You can't fight them now they are here, the only thing we can do is what we have done before, which is sell good meat and products.'
Ruth Herbert, owner of the Bake House, thought Tesco's impact would inevitably be negative and if it affected her takings she would shut.
'We have a wonderful micro economy. But as soon as you get a big supermarket in they take the money out and it goes off somewhere else. I don't see how we can survive it,' she added.
Tesco bosses however, feel the store and its 145-space car park will be 'hugely positive' for Sheringham.
Simon Petar, Tesco corporate affairs manager, said: 'We think it's going to provide an economic lift and a real boost to the town.
'We want to support the town centre and we're really looking forward to working with the chamber (of trade), local businesses and organisations to support the community. And to contribute in a positive way like we always do.'
Mr Petar said the walkway, that will provide a link between the store and the town, was a 'really important' part of the project, and all elements of the build were on target for the 2013 opening date.