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Norwich Heart, Heritage Economic & Regeneration Trust

Colman‘s Mustard Shop & Museum

Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum

HEART took over the cherished Colman's Mustard Shop in Norwich August 2009, from its previous owners Unilever UK & Ireland. The last year has been very busy, with HEART working hard to develop the shop both as a retail operation and heritage attraction. Some of the main developments and activities undertaken include:

Recruiting a new manager

HEART immediately appointed a new retail business manager for the shop, Nick Cook, who is working tirelessly to develop the business.

Undertaking a rebrand

HEART went on to rebrand the Shop to Colman's Mustard Shop & Museum to reflect the interesting archive materials on display and the increasing interpretation work we are undertaking. The new logo also reflects the updated global Colman's logo.

Introducing new stock

The stock sold in the shop was broadened to include innovative products like locally produced Colman's Mustard soaps, foot soaks and bath salts; HEART's range of merchandise and publications; a larger range of gift boxes and gift trays; a range of mugs and tin plate signs depicting old advertising posters; a wider selection of mustards from other manufacturers; a larger selection of mustard pots and bowls; a range of locally produced chutneys, pickles, dressings and oils.

Extended the opening hours

The shop is now once again open on Sundays from April to December, on May and August Bank Holidays and late night on Thursdays in the run-up to Christmas. The shop is now also open late for exclusive events at various times over the year.

To find out about upcoming events, click here.

Increased the profile

HEART developed new signage, a visitor leaflet and a brand new e-commerce website to reflect the new brand and our ambitious plans for the shop. Extensive PR work has also generated local, national and international media coverage promoting the shop, and its inclusion in HEART's increased social media output has introduced a whole new audience to the shop.

HEART has also laucnhed a new website for the shop, offering customers the option to shop online whilst also taking in recipes, event listings, and plenty of detailed information about Colman's storied history in Norwich. www.mustardshopnorwich.co.uk.

Attended and organised events

HEART organizes events at the shop all year round, including: recipe competitions; celebrations to commemorate the anniversary of founder Jeremiah Colman's birthday featuring mustard-flavoured chocolate cake; exhibitions and themed days, such as our Victorian & 1970s Christmasses. The shop also takes part in Museums at Night, Heritage Open Days, Norwich Dragon Festival, the Norfolk Food Festival; the Royal Norfolk Show and Gressenhall History Fair; and given talks about the history of Colman's to a range of community groups.

Supporting the local economy

Nick sits on the new Retail Skills Academy along with other representatives of all areas of the retail sector, from large multiples, shopping centres and organisations such as Norwich City College and Business Link. The Retail Academy is designed to play a pivotal role in helping to ensure the existing and future workforce has the right skills to meet the challenges facing the sector. It will offer pre-employment training for those seeking employment in retail and will also offer a range of provision for retail employees right through to degree level. The Mustard Shop is also a member of the Norwich Attractions group and involved in various city initiatives such as Norwichristmas.

In HEART's first year with the shop turnover increased by 36% on the same period 2008/9 and had the best Christmas turnover figures for eight years. Support from the local media and customer feedback has been really positive and encouraging. Staff met many people at the Royal Norfolk Show in particular who have relatives who had worked at Colman's or who themselves used to work there and who offered to donate various old memorabilia to the shop and museum's displays, which is something HEART is now developing. 

The transfer to HEART

The agreement with the previous owner's Unilever UK & Ireland means that HEART took over the ownership of the Mustard Shop as a retail operation and tourist attraction. As part of the deal, Unilever has made the Mustard Shop's museum and archive materials available on permanent loan to HEART, and its heritage archive will be made available to allow HEART to refresh the display when necessary.

The decision follows an extensive and thorough review of the future of the Shop and ensures that the world-famous Colman's Mustard Shop in Norwich will remain at the heart of the city's tourism and heritage attractions.

As champions of Norwich's heritage, HEART is delighted that we have been able to work with Unilever to retain one of the city's most famous tourism and heritage attractions. It is a very exciting move for HEART, giving us a new avenue to make local heritage more accessible whilst continuing and expanding on the shop's significant contribution to the local economy, showing how heritage can be an economic driver.

Colman's Mustard Shop is one of the great symbols of the city's industrial heritage, representing Colman's long association with Norwich and the important role it has played in the lives of so many people in the city. It is crucial that such iconic and world famous symbols of our heritage remain in the city, allowing our local distinctiveness to be celebrated - elements which have shaped Norwich over the years and made it so special.

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