Rugby coach aiming to ‘give back’ with new store as owner retires after 21 years
- Credit: Archant
A 25-year-old former rugby coach has been handed the reins to a popular town centre shop, marking the end of an era for its long-standing owner.
Holly Hayward took on Saxons Alternative Therapy Centre, in Beccles, earlier this summer following the retirement of owner Christine Pinsent - who ran the shop for 21 years.
A former project manager and head coach of the girl’s team at Beccles Rugby Club, Miss Hayward said: “I am still excited now and I still cannot believe it.
“My mum’s background is in alternative therapies and massage so I always had an interest from her.
“I wanted to do something that gives back and helps people.
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“I used to coach at the rugby club and when this shop became available it was perfect, and here I am.”
Earlier this month, this newspaper launched its Shop Local campaign in a bid to ask readers to support their local shops and communities this Christmas and beyond.
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The use-it-or-lose-it plea to shoppers to consider independent traders and businesses aims to give our much-loved high streets a life-saving boost.
At the heart of the campaign is an effort to keep money in the local economy.
Experts say that for every £1 spent at an independent business, 63p ends up staying here - compared to just 5p spent at a national or international retailer.
And we want shoppers to not just hit the high street, but also to think local when shopping on the web, with so many local traders now offering online options.
Since taking over in July, Miss Hayward has enjoyed a busier than anticipated summer, but is now preparing for the colder months.
She said: “I started in the last week of July and it was a lot busier than expected in August and September with a lot of holidaymakers.
“Everything being cancelled forced a lot of people to stay local, which helped.
“But October has been a lot quieter, mostly because of the weather and the end of the holiday season. People don’t like coming out in the cold.
“I am busy putting my stock online for my website in time for Christmas, which is going to be so important, especially if we get stricter lockdown rules.
“At least then I will still be able to trade and get people things to try and have a bit of a normal Christmas.”
For Mrs Pinsent, the sale has brought the curtain down on more than two decades in the store, with retirement five years later than planned.
In 2015, a blaze devastated the former Bartram’s pet food and garden store next door, with damage and disruption delaying Mrs Pinsent’s High Street goodbye.
During her time with the store, Mrs Pinsent has also taken on roles with the Beccles Business and Tourism Association, attracting funding and support from local businesses for many popular events.
She said: “I have enjoyed Saxons with all the lovey customers and a wealth of therapists who have delivered treatments at Saxons to make the centre what it is today.
“I will miss them all but thank them for their support over the years.
“With all of the problems next door it hasn’t been easy, but I was ready to retire after all these years.
“My only wish was to see it stay as it is and Holly has done that.
“She is a younger person who has lots of enthusiasm, confidence and good customer care skills which is essential at Saxons.
“I think her social media skills and new ideas will attract a lot of new and different people to Saxons.
“I wish her well and a long and healthy future at Saxons.”
The store is one of a number in Waveney who have worked with East Suffolk Council following the launch of their own shop local campaign.
The council have complied information on safety measures, how businesses have adapted, guidance and advice.
For more information, go to eastsuffolkmeansbusiness.co.uk.