‘Unlike Trump, we’re bringing the wall down’: town gallery to expand

Norski Noo owner Andy Sullivan next to the soon-to-be-demolished wall

Norski Noo owner Andy Sullivan next to the soon-to-be-demolished wall - Credit: Noah Vickers

A Dereham gallery owner is preparing to demolish a wall to expand his business into the neighbouring shop space, undeterred by the coronavirus pandemic.

At the end of October, the wall separating Norski Noo’s Gallery from a soon-to-close branch of the Dads and Lads barbers will be brought down.

“Unlike Trump, we’re bringing the wall down,” said owner Andy Sullivan. “I’ll try and work through the night, so the day after, I’ll have the whole shop up and running.”

The gallery has been in Dereham for four years, having moved from its original shop in Bawdeswell.

Since then, it has kept its strong local focus.

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“Everything here was either painted in Norfolk, or made in Norfolk.” said Mr Sullivan, who likened the gallery to “a centre of excellence” by pointing out that it had expanded its services far beyond art.

He said: “We can frame anything, we can restore anything, and we do arts, crafts, jewellery, coffee, cake and local jams.”

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Mr Sullivan said he was undeterred by Covid-19.

“It’s about taking a punt. This pandemic is unique, and it’s easy to sit there saying ‘woe is me’. My view is, let’s just make it work, and focus on the positives. You have to find the reasons to strive forward.”

Mr Sullivan said the expansion was a natural evolution for the shop and that it would draw more customers in.

“We’re incredibly lucky.” said Mr Sullivan. “We’ve got paintings by James Allen, who is regarded as one of the best miniaturists in Norfolk and Suffolk, and upstairs we have original works by Alwyn Crawshaw, who is nationally famous and the author of 25 books.”

Mr Sullivan has also been collaborating with his neighbour Nick Spencer at Rocky Crystal Interiors to link their businesses into a combined offering.

“His portfolio is very similar to ours. We’re both winners, because the diversity attracts more people in.” said Mr Sullivan.

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