“Sad day” for north Norfolk town hit by shock pet shop closure

Sheringham pet shop Claws and Paws, which has closed without warning.Photo: KAREN BETHELL

Sheringham pet shop Claws and Paws, which has closed without warning.Photo: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk pet shop has shut down without warning, to the dismay of regular customers and a team of four staff members, who, overnight, found themselves without jobs.

Claws and Paws, which has been trading in Station Road, Sheringham, for 20 years, was open for business as usual on September 18 but, when staff came to open up the shop the following morning, they found a notice on the door from Woodrows lettings agents, Cromer, saying the premises was now in possession of the landlords.

The owner of the shop, Helen Sidell, has not been in touch with the two full-time and two part-time workers since, leaving them worried about pay due to them - and their future employment prospects.

One long-standing staff member, who did not want to be named, said: 'All I can say is the shop was closed by the landlord and we didn't know anything until we turned up to work on Wednesday morning to find we couldn't get in as the locks were changed.

'We can't get in contact now and we all need our P45s, so it is hard to move forward.'

News of the closure, which leaves Station Road with two empty shops within four doors of each other, was met with dismay by regular customers, with many people posting comments on Facebook expressing their concern.

Steve Fulcher, who has owned Dawn Fresh greengrocers - opposite Claws and Paws - for 22 years, said the closure of the shop was a 'dreadful' loss to the town.

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'It is very sad for Sheringham,' he added. 'To have a town this size and this busy without a pet shop is ridiculous.'

The 790sq ft shop, which is still full of stock, has a small kitchen, a cloakroom and a car park, and is being advertised to let by Woodrows at £25,000 a year. The agents declined to comment on the closure.

Sheringham Chamber of Trade secretary Andy Bullen said chamber members were sorry to see the shop close.

'We do understand that competition and high rent charges hastened their demise and that is something the chamber has expressed concern about,' he said. 'And, while we accept that people who invest in property want a return on it, at the end of the day they will kill off small businesses if the rents are too high.'

Mrs Sidell could not be reached for comment.