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Family-run Sheringham shop to shut its doors for the final time after trading in the town for 30 years

PUBLISHED: 16:19 20 October 2017 | UPDATED: 19:06 20 October 2017

Nobby's of Sheringham owner Steve Clarke outside the Church Street discount store, which will be shutting its doors for the final time on Christmas Eve. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Nobby's of Sheringham owner Steve Clarke outside the Church Street discount store, which will be shutting its doors for the final time on Christmas Eve. Photo: KAREN BETHELL

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A family-run Sheringham store with a 30 year history of trading in the town will close its doors for the final time on Christmas Eve, after a substantial drop in trade forced the owners to “face facts” and cut their losses.

Nobby’s discount store, in Church Street, just off the town centre, is one of two shops owned by brothers Steve and Glen Clarke, whose father Leonard began trading on markets at Fakenham, Swaffham, North Walsham, Kings Lynn and Great Yarmouth in the early 1950s.

Mr Clarke senior opened his first discount food and homewares shop in Bury St Edmunds in 1954, and over the years, ran Nobby’s stores at Swaffham, North Walsham, Diss, Dereham and Wells-next-the-Sea.

Only the Wells and the Sheringham shops remain and while trade is brisk at Wells, Nobby’s of Sheringham has struggled to make a profit since the closure of the next door Co-operative and a number of other Church Street shops, two of which have been replaced by rival discount stores.

Steve Clarke, who runs the store with the help of wife Christine, daughter Vanessa and son Craig, said Church Street, which, in recent years, has seen the closure of businesses including a dress shop, an antiques shop, a household textiles shop, a fishmonger, a bookstore and an estate agents, had “dropped off the radar” for shoppers.

While some new shops have opened, others, including the estate agents and the antiques store, have been replaced by housing.

“We used to be on the main drag, but that’s gone now,” Mr Clarke, 63, said. “We rode it out for some time, but the knock-on effect of the loss of so many day to day shops, as well as a change in shopping habits, means there has been a big drop in the number of people coming down Church Street.

While not ruling out opening another Nobby’s store in Sheringham, “if the right spot comes up”, Mr Clarke says he has mixed feelings about his “forced temporary retirement”.

“I am sad in a way and I would like to thank all the loyal customers who have supported us over the years,” he said, “But when we opened this was a very busy area, so it really didn’t come as a surprise and common sense said closing down was a decision we had to make.”

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