Colman's artefacts put into storage as plans to re-open Norwich's famous Colman's Mustard Shop scrapped
PUBLISHED: 08:44 06 October 2017 | UPDATED: 10:02 06 October 2017
Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015
A collection of Colman’s artefacts have been put into storage as plans to reopen Norwich’s famous mustard shop are scrapped.
The store - previously located in Norwich’s Royal Arcade - closed earlier this year as the unit’s lease came to an end.
Guildhall Enterprises, which took on the premises, had initially intended to re-open it inside the city’s Guildhall in December.
But Davina Tanner, chief executive, has confirmed it is no longer going ahead.
She claimed Unilever, which makes Colman’s Mustard, took back one of the shop’s main attractions after it closed - its Colman’s artefacts.
However, a spokesman for Unilever said it was asked to store the items by the shop for safe keeping.
Mrs Tanner also claimed the company never supplied the shop with its branded mustard.
Instead, her social enterprise, which took on the premises from Norwich HEART in 2015, had to buy it from small suppliers.
“The shop lost us money,” she said. “We were paying more on wholesale costs than you could buy it for in Tesco.”
“We had been looking to go to Guildhall, but then Unilever said it was taking its artefacts back.”
It comes as Unilever warned that it could close its Norwich factory.
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Mrs Tanner stressed that her social enterprise, which aims to reduce re-offending, was not connected to the Colman’s brand.
She said she took on the shop from the now defunct Norwich Heart and intended to keep it open until the lease expired.
Mrs Tanner said the arcade charged £60,000 per year in rent, adding that it was too expensive to stay there.
“It is nothing to do with me,” she added. “It is Unilever’s brand and their artefacts.
“I did someone a favour and it has bitten me on the bum.”
The Colman’s Mustard Shop and Museum was opened in 1973 as a temporary display to commemorate 150 years of J&J Colman’s, but proved so popular it remained open.
A Unilever spokesman was optimistic the artefacts could yet return to public display. He said: “Earlier this year, as the shop was closing for relocation, the owners asked us to collect the historical items, which we had indefinitely loaned to them, for safe keeping and storage in our archives.
“We hope that the shop will reopen in the near future, when we will be happy talk to the owners about loaning them historical items again.”