'A great idea' - Shop space helps small businesses showcase products

Local traders have come together to showcase their products at The Nook in Dereham

Traders at The Nook in Dereham. Pictured (from L to R) are: Karen Crisp, Lynsey Martin, Charlotte O'Callaghan, Kay Willmott, Dawn Caley, Rob Caley, Nikki McAllister, Rhiannon Cole and Jess Sivitter - Credit: Brittany Woodman

A new shop space is allowing up-and-coming business owners to showcase their products on the high street. 

The Nook, in Dereham, was opened back in November by Kay and Tom Willmott, and now hosts 17 vendors.

Kay Willmott, who owns The Nook at Aldiss Court in Dereham

Kay Willmott, who owns The Nook at Aldiss Court in Dereham - Credit: Brittany Woodman

The concept of the store, at Aldiss Court, is to give small firms the opportunity to establish a visible presence in the town centre - when they would not otherwise have the resources to do so.

Traders take it in turns to staff the shop, with each paying a small amount to rent a shelf.

Mrs Willmott, who runs a number of businesses herself including a salon and an events company, said she was determined to give others a chance to grow. 

Dawn and Rob Caley of Westfield Metal Crafts at The Nook in Dereham

Dawn and Rob Caley of Westfield Metal Crafts at The Nook in Dereham - Credit: Brittany Woodman

The 31-year-old added: "During lockdown, I found myself thinking 'how many people have started up businesses but aren't on the high street?'

"It is so difficult to become visible on social media these days because there are just so many traders out there, especially as shopping local has become such a trend.

"What's great is that we are based right in the town centre. I didn't want these businesses to just fizzle out once lockdown ended, so hopefully we can help them to be seen."

Shop owner Kay Willmott at The Nook in Dereham

Shop owner Kay Willmott at The Nook in Dereham - Credit: Brittany Woodman

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One of those to benefit from Mrs Willmott's latest venture is Karen Crisp, who launched Hearty Fudge and More from her home in Yaxham last April.

After an initial wave of interest, Mrs Crisp found herself getting lost among a sea of other small businesses advertising their items on social media.

But, after joining the team at The Nook, the 39-year-old has been reaping the rewards - even enjoying a sell-out week in the run-up to Christmas. 

Lynsey Martin, aka The County Crafter, at The Nook in Dereham

Lynsey Martin, aka The County Crafter, at The Nook in Dereham - Credit: Brittany Woodman

"Kay and Tom's idea was great," said Mrs Crisp. 

"They thought 'let's bring businesses together because everybody might not be able to afford the rent of a full shop. We each pay a small sum every week for a shelf and we have done better being in the shop than selling on Facebook. 

"I was posting on social media and not really getting much custom, but being in the shop is helping to really get my business out there. It is all about getting the word out."

To find out more, visit Facebook and search for 'The Nook - Dereham'. 

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