Shopping guide set to boost business

A new shopping guide aims to shine the spotlight on Harleston's independent businesses.

The Harleston Shop Guide catalogues the town's 55 businesses which offer everything from antiques to zumba classes.

Organisers say the guide is proof that Harleston is a small town with big ambitions, and is determined to overcome the downward trend of the UK's high streets.

Sue Smith, of Home Comforts in the Thoroughfare, who coordinated the guide with colleagues Rachel Smith and Cindy Debenham, said: 'The point we are trying to make is that people don't have to trek to Norwich or Ipswich to get what they want: it's all here in Harleston.

'Unlike buying online you can see the quality of an item, get advice from experienced staff and have an enjoyable experience. I think that is worth a lot.'

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Home Comforts was given support from other businesses, including Carly Newton and Kieran Robinson from Pen & Paper, who designed the guide for free.

Four new groups have been set up to consider the town's plans for prosperity, under the banner of Harleston's Future, following a town meeting.

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Meryl Harding of chocolatiers Just Truffles chairs the newly-established Harleston events sub-committee, part of the Harleston's Future partnership and the new Town Team.

She said: 'Harleston has a special appeal because it has more independent shops than any other Norfolk market town, and it still has free parking.

'Add to that the 200-plus listed historic buildings, a lively weekly Wednesday market, monthly Farmers' Market and masses of great cafes, pubs and restaurants – and what is there not to love about the place?'

Harleston's Future chairman Paul Stephen said: 'There are such exciting plans for the town being developed. We are determined to put Harleston on the map. We want to help businesses to thrive, ensure visitors have a really good experience and local residents feel part of a happy and lively community.'

The Waveney Food Festival is the next major event in the town, on Wednesday, when there will be food stalls and demonstrations.

Search Harleston's Future on Facebook or follow @HarlestonFuture on Twitter to find out more.

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