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Grand reopening of Fakenham's fire-ravaged Aldiss store

Four years after a devastating fire at an iconic Fakenham store, the site is about to become the focus of celebrations.

The former Aldiss building in the town centre went up in flames in May 2014. It housed The Original Factory Shop which will be making a grand return to the premises on Saturday, August 4.

Flashback to 2014 when the building was ravaged by fire
Flashback to 2014 when the building was ravaged by fire

In response to the disaster, community spirit took over with local fundraising for the victims who lost homes in the fire. And a construction team has worked tirelessly to salvage as much of the original building as possible to incorporate in the replacement.

Described by many as the day that Fakenham will never forget, the old building right at the heart of the high street has remained a temporary site for almost four years whilst under construction.

Now, that is set to change as the building opens its doors with a brand new look, inviting townsfolk to come together for a huge celebration of a new era.

The Original Factory Shop will be returning and setting up shop in its new home and to mark the occasion, it will be hosting a grand reopening party.

Guests of honour will include the Mayor of Fakenham George Archeson, Tim Aldiss of the family retail firm, along with representatives from the Department of Work and Pensions, Norfolk Police and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Services, some of whom remember attending the fire and its victims back in 2014.

The Original Factory Shop is drawing upon services from the local community for the party, including local cake maker, Sally Scott, to music from the Fakenham Town Band.

Jamie Francis, fire crew manager, is looking forward to the reopening. He said: “We’re looking forward to attending this event – I know the teams at Aldiss and The Original Factory Shop have done a lot to make sure this new launch celebrates local businesses and the good people of Fakenham who have all played an integral part in bring the community, and the Aldiss building itself, back together.”

Venetia Lake, store manager of The Original Factory Shop’s Fakenham branch said: “There was never a question about The Original Factory Shop returning to Aldiss. It’s a piece of Fakenham’s history and something we are extremely proud and humbled to be a part of.

"We want this store launch to help everyone celebrate the dawning of this new era for Aldiss and while the people will never forget what happened four years ago, we can hopefully help them make and create memories in new surroundings.”

For more information on The Original Factory Shop please visit www.tofs.com

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