‘We want to be the fabric of the town’- owners of gin and honey praise support
PUBLISHED: 16:26 28 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:31 28 February 2020
The owners of a gin and honey shop in a Norfolk town have expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the warm welcome they have received and have said they aim to be part of the fabric of the community.
The Land of Gin and Honey, an independent shop selling local spirits, chocolate, honey and natural products opened in Downham Market in September 2019.
The shop, which proudly sits opposite the town clock on the Market Place, works with local businesses and beekeepers to sell local based products.
Joint owners and husband and wife team James Clark and Nancy De Cleir decided to open the shop, which is an expansion of The Ely Gin Company, in the market town after seeing the demand for it locally.
Mr Clark a beekeeper and former software engineer and Mrs Cleir a former language teacher set up The Ely Gin company in 2012 starting off on a stall at Ely market and have since been running a shop on Buttermarket in Ely for five years.
It initially started from Mr Clark's hobby of making hedgerow wines and sloe gin which developed further into a business specialising in flavoured gins and vodkas.
Mr Clark said: "I got bored of being a software engineer and decided to run the gin company full time.
"Opening in Downham came about because I did a talk for the WI here and drove up the road and saw the shop and I thought it was just a perfect opportunity."
Mrs Cleir added: "We do the gin festival in King's Lynn and we get a lot of customers coming from Downham Market to our shop in Ely, so we thought why not set one up here?
"We love Downham Market. It's such an iconic location for us, to be near the clock. It's a nice place to be.
"It is nice that people are discovering us and a lot of people are coming in for quality products."
The business places an emphasis on supporting local producers, with around 80pc of the products they sell coming from East Anglia.
Local producers include Harrison Chocolatiers', Downham Cider, Chillis Galore, Wolf Brewery and Norfolk Amber.
Mr Clark said: "It's definitely about local and quality.
"With our stock, we always see if we can get things local first as well as selling our own lines."
The Ely Gin company has 14 different gins, 10 of them being core flavours stocked throughout the year and four being 'whimsie' gins which are experiments and seasonal flavours that change every few months.
Mr Clark said: "With our gin we distil it first and then add in the fruit which gives it its natural colouring.
"We have all fresh ingredients which keeps it tasting fresh."
The company won the best flavoured spirits and other award at the London Spirits Festival last year with their Afternoon Tea gin and also won in 2018 for their Breakfast Marmalade gin.
Since opening the pair have been thrilled by the local reaction.
Mrs Cleir said: "Everyone without exception has welcomed us, people have put cards through the door and brought in flowers just to say welcome to the area and have wished us all the best.
"The town council have been very welcoming. You can see they are trying to work on improving the town."
Mrs Cleir said that although the business is important and is excited to see it develop they aim to be part of the community and give back where they can.
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She said: "Yes we have a shop in Downham Market but we want to be part of the fabric of the town as well, it's our ethos in Ely and we want to do the same here."
The business will be holding a gin tasting evening on the Friday, April 17 to help with fundraising efforts for the Downham Girlguiding group.
The shop in Ely will be rebranded to the Land of Gin and Honey to incorporate its new ideas and products.
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