‘You can’t always get cheaper online’ - Seaside shop reveals secret to surviving 20 years in business
- Credit: Archant
When textile artist Jane Stubbs opened Sheringham gift shop Creativity 20 years ago, the town had no supermarket and high street businesses included a Woolworths, half a dozen banks and building societies, three greengrocers, two off licences and a string of long-standing family-run stores.
But, while changing times have seen banks replaced by cafes, and independent shops replaced by bookmakers and discount stores, Creativity is thriving, with holiday-makers and locals alike still as keen as ever to spend their cash.
"I think part of our appeal is that people like the experience of looking round the shop," Mrs Stubbs said, "And we haven't really been affected by the internet as although overheads have risen, we try not to pass those costs on to customers, so they can't always get things cheaper online."
Situated at the bottom of High Street, not far from the seafront, the shop maintains its appeal to tourists by stocking gifts ranging from postcards to souvenir tea towels and fridge magnets, at the same time attracting local people with an unrivalled range of products sourced from more than 100 suppliers.
Always keen to stay on top of the latest trends, Mrs Stubbs and her daughter-in-law Charlotte, who recently took over the day-to-day running of the business, regularly attend trade shows in Birmingham, Harrogate and London.
"We have a constantly changing stock and, because of my art training, I am always on the lookout for something a bit different which, if it isn't British-made, is British designed," Mrs Stubbs said.
The pair are also keenly aware that what might sell further up the high street doesn't go down so well near the bottom end of town.
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"I think there is a very different atmosphere here," Mrs Stubbs explained. "There is much more of a seaside feel and, although we were affected by the loss of Woolworths and the free parking offered at the top of the town when Tesco arrived, we know what things are like and, in the summer, we are in the best place it's possible to be."
Charlotte, who juggles managing the shop with running a mobile pizza business with husband Ben, said: "I think that what keeps us going is offering a personal service and, in retail, you have to keep adapting and diversifying, otherwise you will get left behind."
To enter the Creativity £100 anniversary giveaway, visit the shop's Facebook page.