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One-stop revival for Bungay

PUBLISHED: 10:28 26 March 2010 | UPDATED: 09:30 01 August 2010

SMALL businesses in Bungay are being given a golden opportunity to flourish by forming the town's first community department store.

No 4, Market Place is Bungay's answer to the financial difficulties faced by keen entrepreneurs wanting to start up small businesses in the current economic climate.

SMALL businesses in Bungay are being given a golden opportunity to flourish by forming the town's first community department store.

No 4, Market Place is Bungay's answer to the financial difficulties faced by keen entrepreneurs wanting to start up small businesses in the current economic climate.

The one-stop-shop idea stemmed from Sonya Remblance, from Hobbyhorse of Bungay, which sold dancewear and craft supplies in a town centre premises that she realised would be large enough to sub-let to multiple independent traders.

Her daughter Kirsty Remblance, 21, who is the new store manager, said: “It's a big shop with very large overheads. It's a sign of the times that lots of places are disappearing and rather than disappear we thought we would condense them.

“If you've got an idea and you want to run with it but you can't financially, then it's the perfect opportunity for the new business person - someone who thinks, I'd like to have a go.”

She added: “The comments we've had so far have been fantastic.”

Hobbyhorse will remain as one of the divisions, and is joined by many others in the field of arts and crafts, including ranges of locally crafted semi-precious jewellery, and recycled and vintage clothing, as well as services that were lacking in the town, such as computer repairs.

Other services on offer include key cutting, clothes alterations, a letting agents and Felix Shoe Repairs.

Small businesses can rent as much or as little of the shop floor that they need, from just one square metre. The store is manned three days a week by staff and the other three on a rota basis by all the partners.

The breadth of small traders involved in No 4, Market Place means that it is also quickly becoming a valuable source in the town for local people and visitors needing a particular item, service or piece of information.

Although a raft of businesses have moved in recently, the shop's first new trader was Janet Troughton, who set out her Chocolate Connoisseur range in July, after trading solely via a website, selling exclusive brands, luxury selections and ranges with unusual flavours.

“I think if this shop was empty it would be the death knell of Bungay because it's one of the larger shops,” she said. “Hopefully by bringing new businesses in it's going to revive this part of the town.”

Ms Troughton, who continues to work as an accountant, added: “There's no way I could have afforded to have my own shop - this is really just a hobby for me. I couldn't miss the opportunity.”

Although the shop already hosts 18 businesses, there are more to move in ahead of the launch day on Easter Saturday.

A few spaces are still available to rent at the shop, which is open every day except Sundays, 9am-5pm. Telephone 01986 892504.

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