Gift shop Bill & Bert’s in Colchester has almost doubled in size.
Bill Nettelfield, who co-owns the business with wife’s daughter Sarah Charlton, opened the shop in August 2019 and said it “became an instant hit”. This year the opportunity came along to extend into the old Trespass [outdoor specialist] unit next door by knocking a huge walkthrough. As a result, the store expanded in size from just under 2,500sq ft to approximately 4,500sq ft on April 8.
He told Gifts Today: “Bill & Berts offers quality gifts at sensible prices for grandchildren through to grandparents. We sell an enormous range that varies from ladies’ clothes and bags to soft toys, games, lighting, candles, hardware, pottery, glassware and socks. The range is endless and is one of the reasons we have been successful, because customers can buy something for themselves as well as everyone in the family.”
Bill deals with 100-plus suppliers but does have some stand-out large accounts such as Jellycat, Wrendale, DCUK, Swole Panda, Roka of London, The Bottled Baking Co., Cartwright & Butler, Spice Kitchen, Ashleigh & Burwood, Portmeirion, Kate of Kensington, Little Weaver Arts, Rosie Made A Thing, and Lucilla Lavender.
He said: “With the extra space we had to find a lot of new lines, as well as expand some of our best-selling ranges. New since April are Miffy soft toys and House of Marbles. We also have a range of lights from Denmark, and products from several smaller suppliers that we found at Top Drawer. Really, the list goes on and on!”
Bill added: “Trade for me as an independent is exceeding all goals, and this has proved even more so since we came out of lockdown in April 2021. There has been a very noticeable shift in shopping patterns to ‘shop local’ – and at independent shops. You never hear people saying we went to the Bluewaters or Lakesides of this world anymore. And since we expanded, business has been bonkers! We’re so busy – it’s like trade in November. We’ve opened a monster of a shop!”