23-year-old and guide dog reopen village shop selling local food and gifts

Partially sighted Arthur Howson, 23, with guide dog Queenie, who has revamped and taken over the Happisburgh Village Shop. 

Partially sighted Arthur Howson, 23, with guide dog Queenie, who has revamped and taken over the Happisburgh Village Shop. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Happisburgh is famous for its lighthouse and beach, but a newly-revamped village store is also making waves in the holiday hotspot. 

Arthur Howson, 23, and his parents Val and Mark took on the Happisburgh Village Shop in The Street in January this year when its previous owners Ian and Sharon retired after 30 years there. 

Arthur Howson, 23, at Happisburgh Village Shop. 

Arthur Howson, 23, at Happisburgh Village Shop. - Credit: Denise Bradley

Arthur takes care of the day-to-day running of the shop with help from his guide dog and assistant manager Queenie, a black Labrador and Golden Retriever cross, who he has had for three years.

He has a condition called retinitis pigmentosa which causes his eyesight to deteriorate and he has blind spots.

He said: "Queenie has allowed me to look up and see the world and has changed my life and she is great with customers."

Arthur Howson sells local food and drink, including apple juice and oils. 

Arthur Howson sells local food and drink, including apple juice and oils. - Credit: Denise Bradley

The shop is a celebration of Norfolk produce and the items on sale include apple juice, jams, sauces, oils, vinegars, chocolate, crabs and basics such as bread, eggs and milk.

The family also own North Norfolk Crafts in Bacton and are offering gifts in their latest venture too, including candles, jigsaw puzzles and posters. 

Most Read

Arthur Howson said: "The reaction since we opened has been really positive and everyone has enjoyed being able to get local food here.

"We are a 40-minute drive to Norwich so it is really convenient for those looking to get a gift for their grandchildren or partners."

He also hosts speciality days based on when certain products are delivered.

Partially sighted Arthur Howson, 23, with guide dog Queenie, who has revamped and taken over Happisburgh Village Shop. 

Partially sighted Arthur Howson, 23, with guide dog Queenie, who has revamped and taken over Happisburgh Village Shop. - Credit: Denise Bradley

These are Fresh Bread Friday, with focaccia, sourdough and seeded loaves available, Happisburgh Crab Day on Saturday and Vegan Day on Wednesday with plant-based scones and crackers. 

He is community-focused and has collected clothes for Ukraine for the village school and fundraises for guide dogs. 

Speaking about the barriers he has overcome to inspire others, Mr Howson said: "Just keep on being positive, you are going to get there.

Arthur Howson with the local produce in Happisburgh Village Shop. 

Arthur Howson with the local produce in Happisburgh Village Shop. - Credit: Denise Bradley

"It might take a little time, but with a leap of faith you will get exactly where you want to be." 

The Happisburgh Village Shop is open Wednesday to Saturday 10.30am to 4pm and Sunday 10.30am to 2pm.