'Online sales have doubled' - Store owner temporarily shuts up shop

Paul and Beverley Platten, who run Something Different in Great Yarmouth's Regent Road. Mr Platten i

Paul and Beverley Platten, who run Something Different in Great Yarmouth's Regent Road. - Credit: Paul Platten

The owner of an independent gift shop in Norfolk has closed it until February after business boomed online.

Paul Platten, who runs Something Different in Great Yarmouth’s Regent Road, has seen online orders double since the start of lockdown in November.

He's now sending out goods to the value of £600 to £700 a day and estimates that he is 20pc up on last year.

Instead of reopening when lockdown eased, he and wife Beverley will be redecorating the shop ahead of February. 

Mr Platten said he has just signed a lease on the premises, from January, for another six years.

He said last year they found the shop wasn't that busy in December but they did get a lot of customers who were tourists coming to Norfolk for the Thursford Christmas show, which has been cancelled this year because of Covid.

"We actually closed down for a month last year after December 14 as people simply did not come," he said. "February half term onwards is actually much busier."

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Mr Platten, a former accountant, took over the shop two years ago after suffering some health problems. He stocks arts and crafts items, gifts, accessories and jewellery.

Trays of jewellery making beads in shop

The jewellery making beads which are so popular. - Credit: Paul Platten

But he has found that in particular items used for jewellery making, such as beads, have really taken off, with more people at home and deciding to make presents.

Exterior of gift shop

Something Different, Regent Road, Great Yarmouth - Credit: Paul Platten

And he prides himself on very few returns. 

“Out of 31,000 orders, I’ve only had 42 queries with people wanting to return items and only 20 actually sent them back," he said.

He uses platforms such as Amazon and eBay as well as selling direct.

“Most independent businesses are so desperate to keep orders, they do give a good service,” he said.

Mr Platten posted on Facebook the news to customers, and said: "Since our planned holidays were cancelled in November we decided to bring forward the changes in shop layout and redecoration. We will, therefore, not be reopening until February half term to allow us to finish the restocking and take a few weeks holiday."

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