Independent store will close by the end of month after 40 years in town

Harrods of Hingham, in Church Street, Hingham. Picture: Google Maps

Harrods of Hingham, in Church Street, Hingham. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

The owner of an independent shop in one of Norfolk's most picturesque market towns has made a heartfelt apology to its customers on announcing the store's imminent closure.

Harrods of Hingham owner Ruta Simonzentiene said: 'This place is really special.

'We're sorry - we still think some miracle will come along but I just cannot afford to keep it open anymore.'

She has announced that she will be closing the shop before the end of the month, as it can no longer compete with nearby supermarkets and falling customer numbers.

The shop, which shares a name with the iconic London department store, has been in the town - 20 miles to the west of Norwich - for more than 40 years, over which time it has been run and managed by a number of different people.

But Mrs Simonzentiene has said that due to declining customer numbers she has taken the decision to close the business, which she has run since July last year.

She put the reason for her decision down to a combination of factors, including competition from a newly-opened Co-op in the town and steadily declining customer numbers.

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The 41-year-old said: 'As a small business we cannot get the suppliers at the same price as the supermarkets, with the rates and daily costs, you just cannot compete.

'There is not enough business. There is a new Co-op in the town and since that opened we keep losing sales.'

She added that it was with a heavy heart that she was closing the business.

'I'm completely upset,' she said. 'I had a lot of hopes and a lot of ideas. The people in the village are amazing.

'They have been very supportive. We are very happy with the customers but there are just not enough.

'I'd like to say a big thank-you to the community who have supported us and the landlord and whoever used the shop. We felt needed and supported.'

'I truly wish that someone takes over the shop, this place is really special.'

The shop, which also houses the town's post office, is likely to close before the end of the month. The future of the post office facility remains uncertain.