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Swaffham boutique opens




Swaffham business owner, Sarah Symonds, is "thrilled to bits" with reaction to her new town centre shop and the fundraising event which launched it.

She celebrated the opening of fashion brand Artichoke at 1 London Street with two days of fundraising for the town's Merle Boddy Centre.

Sarah's target was to be able to give £1,000 to the centre but said she was at least £500 over that figure and still counting.

Celebrating the opening,from left, Donna Stocking, Sarah Simonds, Judy Anscombe (Swaffham mayor), Georgie Bell (Merle Boddy Centre manager).
Celebrating the opening,from left, Donna Stocking, Sarah Simonds, Judy Anscombe (Swaffham mayor), Georgie Bell (Merle Boddy Centre manager).

"I am humbled by everyone's generosity," she said.

The shop, which was opened by the town mayor, Judy Anscombe, at a drinks reception on Thursday, is in a listed building which has undergone restoration.

It was previously a shop with offices. It still has the shop element but the rest has been converted into apartments.

Town mayor Judy Anscombe opens Artichoke's new shop with (from left) Georgie Bell (Merle Boddy Centre manager), Sarah Simonds, and shop assistant Donna Stocking.
Town mayor Judy Anscombe opens Artichoke's new shop with (from left) Georgie Bell (Merle Boddy Centre manager), Sarah Simonds, and shop assistant Donna Stocking.

"It is a perfect example of town centre regeneration and creating a reason for people to come into the town centre," said Sarah.

The opening gave Sarah, who helped raise money for charities all over East Anglia, before Covid, a chance to get fundraising again with a raffle, silent auction and special discounts on the Artichoke range.

It also give her optimism for the future of the business.

She said: “Lockdown was devastating but despite having our bricks and mortar shop closed for most of last year the business is thriving as we have moved our focus online so now have customers from all over the UK.

“Mine is a business that has not just survived a pandemic but re-invented itself and grown during it."

She said that moving to larger premises is giving her the space to run the online business and the traditional shop side by side.



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