Business owner claims town centre has moved to trading estates as new warehouse opens
- Credit: Archant
A business owner has said town centres are in a state of flux as he opened his first warehouse, giving his internet firm a Norfolk home.
Hassan Mhamood, 33, grew up in Thetford and has now opened Best Beds Direct in Stephenson Way.
For the past six months he has been running the company online but now - bucking a trend of customers moving online - has opened his first store selling beds and mattresses.
He said: "Customers are trickling in but the company has been running online for the past six months shipping nationally.
"At the moment 99pc is online but the idea behind the new store is having somewhere to store and display products while having an office."
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Despite the new premises, Mr Mhamood, who grew up on the Ladies Estate, says he has seen shoppers move away from the town centre.
He added: "I couldn't tell you the last time I went into the town centre and it's a shame. With the town growing, with the retail park and the new homes, this side of the town [south] is the most active.
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"This pattern isn't just in Thetford it is in every market town. On the trading estate there is a man who sells carpets and another unit where people get their eyebrows done and their haircut, these would have been in the town centre but are now here.
"People don't mind having to drive to somewhere and there are people who still don't like buying stuff blind online."
Mr Mhamood's store is located behind the former Multiyork Factory. The company, which had stores in Norwich, Ipswich and Mellis, in Suffolk, filed for bankruptcy in September 2017.
"My little brother was made redundant from there," Mr Mhamood said. "Everyone in the town knows someone who has worked there and I have customers come in and tell me their sorrow story.
"There is an emotional connection to the place, it's like a haunted playground.
"I remember when I was a kid and would walk into the town centre and go to the green grocers and Woolworths but now times have changed, it's not the same place anymore, the world is a different place."