This week a customer told me that we had ‘the best shop in Downham’.
Now, obviously we think our products are fantastic but this was high praise from someone who hadn’t yet sampled any of our gins. Actually, it turned out that she wasn’t talking about our stock. This customer, a previous shop owner herself, was talking about the location. On the junction of Bridge Street and The High Street, we are in the best shop in Downham.
We weren’t originally looking for a shop in Downham Market, but when James drove home after talking to members of the local WI and spotted a vacant shop, he knew it was a great opportunity. Downham has a regular market, is steeped in history and, like Ely, continues to grow as more families move to the area, attracted by the combination of affordable living and access to the West Norfolk countryside.
Our location overlooks the Town Square. When we opened a few weeks ago, we were able to hear the performers taking part in Downham Live. In its first year, Downham Live is a fantastic initiative set up by local people and supported by the Town Council. The event provided colour and excitement to a slightly damp Saturday afternoon and gave a us a wonderful backdrop to open against. The event really reflected the community spirit of Downham Market. The people here are pro-active; if they want a community event, they get on and organise it.
We are also next to the Clock Tower which was presented to the town in 1878 and reminds visitors of the town’s history. The sound of the clock’s regular chime is something we have grown fond of. It punctuates our day, telling us when to open, when to close and when to pop the kettle on. Described as being ‘straight out of Trumpton’, the history of the clock is explored in another of the town’s attractions – Discover Downham, a small museum staffed mainly by volunteers and on the site of the Old Fire Station (yes there are fire fighter helmets on display and yes, you can try them on).
We are not only in the best shop in Downham but we think we’re also in the best corner. Several new businesses have opened here in the last few years and we are surrounded by vibrant, creative, independent businesses who have offered us a warm welcome. We love Noodlepip who provide fresh flowers for us every week and across the road, Ten always has something exciting on display. Even the staff at Feet First Chiropody Clinic brought in a card to wish us the best of luck. We have had such a warm welcome.
So we are very happy to settle in our lovely shop. We may not have our signage up yet (it’s coming!) but we feel already a part of this lovely community. We hope more independent shops will find their way to Downham Market but, unfortunately for them, the best shop in Downham is already taken.