New lease of life for fire ravaged town centre store

Sportstore have announced plans to renovate the former Bartram's store in New Market, Beccles.

Sportstore have announced plans to renovate the former Bartram's store in New Market, Beccles. - Credit: Sportstore

An historic fire ravaged building is set to get a new lease of life with the relocation of a town centre business.

Sportstore opened their Beccles store in Blyburgate in early December last year, but have already set their sites on expanding into the former Bartram's shop on New Market, with manager Charlie Nevitt eyeing an "ambitious" opening in May.

The store has been vacant since a devastating fire caused significant damage inside and to the roof of the historic store in June 2015.

Fire caused major damage to Bartram's Pet and Garden store, Beccles in 2015.

Fire caused major damage to Bartram's Pet and Garden store, Beccles in 2015. - Credit: Nick Butcher

Mr Nevitt said: "With lockdown, we are in a situation where we are not allowed to have customers inside, so we thought we would jump on this opportunity to renovate 33 New Market.

"It is going to be ambitious, and we can't pin a date on it yet, but hopefully we can be ready in May by the earliest.


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"Our website has been up since the start of December and we have been doing a lot of sales through there, but when it comes down to the bricks and mortar this is an opportunity to move into a bigger shop and provide a fun experience for customers.

Sportstore have started renovating the former Bartram's store.

Sportstore have started renovating the former Bartram's store. - Credit: Sportstore

"It is the old fashioned sports shop mentality where we want to be a fun place, not just somewhere to get socks."

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As well as selling sports equipment, the store is planning to expand their offering beyond their stock.

Mr Nevitt said: "We want to offer services as well as products to sell, from paddle boarding to skateboarding.

"I'm thinking of bikes and kayaks for people in the summer, and possibly a café too.

"Nothing is for certain yet, but we are trying to make it a fun place to be."

Bartram's opened as a pet food and garden store in 1929, before moving to New Market in 1934, where the shop remained open until the fire forced the closure of the family business in 2015, with the new store aiming to honour the building's heritage.

The former Bartrams pet food store in Beccles is now being redeveloped after a fire in 2015.

The former Bartrams pet food store in Beccles is now being redeveloped after a fire in 2015 - Credit: Nick Butcher

Mr Nevitt said: "We are hoping to get some memorabilia from the old shop on the walls to mark the history. 

"It is a massive job but the landlord is very hands on to get it renovated."

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