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Family ‘proud’ to open long-awaited WHSmith in Dereham

PUBLISHED: 16:34 12 December 2017 | UPDATED: 16:45 12 December 2017

Running the WHSmith store in Dereham are family members (from left) Chris, James, Maria and Phil Stow. Picture: Ian Burt

Running the WHSmith store in Dereham are family members (from left) Chris, James, Maria and Phil Stow. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2017

After months of speculation, planning and renovation the latest addition to Dereham’s High Street has opened.

The new WHSmith store in Dereham is now open. Picture: Ian Burt The new WHSmith store in Dereham is now open. Picture: Ian Burt

WHSmith Local has opened its doors to shoppers and is already proving popular with customers in the run up to Christmas.

The store, at 36 High Street in the former William Hill betting shop, had been empty for some time but plans were first submitted in July for change of use for the new business.

It was immediately welcomed by the majority of townsfolk and approved by the district council.

After a slight delay in getting the right signage for the front the store opened and is being run by four members of the same family.

The new WHSmith store in Dereham is now open. Pictured is James Stow. Picture: Ian Burt The new WHSmith store in Dereham is now open. Pictured is James Stow. Picture: Ian Burt

Philip and Maria Stow and their sons Chris and James will work full time in the shop, which will be open seven days a week.

The family moved up from Kent a year ago and after a good look around Norfolk they settled on Dereham.

Mrs Stow has many years of experience in retail and elder son Chris has also worked for WHSmith before.

The shop stocks a wide range of WHSmith goods and is around 40 percent smaller than its standard stores. It includes books, gifts, school and office stationery, computer supplies, cards and wrap, envelopes and paper as well as newspapers and magazines.

Running the WHSmith store in Dereham are family members (from left) Chris, Maria, Phil and James Stow. Picture: Ian Burt Running the WHSmith store in Dereham are family members (from left) Chris, Maria, Phil and James Stow. Picture: Ian Burt

While much of its stock is direct from WHSmith the business also allows them to resource from other stockists giving them flexibility over their range.

“As long as it fits in with the theme we can bring our own stock in,” said Mrs Stow, as Chris explained they were able to deal direct with the UK’s largest book wholesaler called Gardners.

“We can choose from 500,000 books that they offer and it also means people can order a particular book that they want and we will get it for them,” he said.

“We also have a range from the If company who sell reading lights, glasses, bookmarks and other stationery products.”

The store opening coincides with the 225th anniversary of the WHSmith brand and Philip Stow said they were “proud” to open a branch in Dereham.

“We know Dereham has a past heritage of stationers and book seller with Chambers for 180 years and was sadly closed down back in 2011,” he said.

“We look forward to being part of the community now and into the future as the town grows.”

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