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Travel agent moves her Your Perfect Travel business from her garden shed to premises in Sawbridgeworth town centre

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Town centre shops are buzzing again after the easing of lockdown restrictions on non-essential retailers – and Sawbridgeworth traders are getting ready to welcome newcomers.

On Saturday (May 1) Norma Fenwick migrates from the shed at the bottom of her garden to bring her Your Perfect Travel agency to Knight Street and she is looking forward to hitting the ground running.

She admitted the first couple of months of the spring lockdown last year were “ horrendous”, but over the last eight months she has picked up new business, hence the decision to move into a shop.

Norma Fenwick (46503720)
Norma Fenwick (46503720)

“I’m busy, I work long hours, so I’ve got to the stage where I need more staff,” said Norma, who has lived in the town for 15 years.

She is full of praise for the community and people’s support for the town’s traders. “Last year has made people focus on buying local. People in Sawbridgeworth are so helpful and friendly,” she added.

The premises, next door to Nationwide, came up for lease last February, but with the lockdowns Norma decided to delay opening.

Your Perfect Travel shop ready for opening on May 1 (46606215)
Your Perfect Travel shop ready for opening on May 1 (46606215)

“We put it on hold for a year, but it feels as though we’re coming out the other side,” said Norma, who added that her landlord had been “amazing”.

Along with residents yearning for a break abroad, Norma is waiting for the Government’s announcement on the traffic light system for continental destinations.

“It’s looking like there'll be 10 to 12 countries on the green list,” said Norma, who revealed that popular destinations at the moment were the Caribbean, America and the Maldives.

Meanwhile, at the top of Bell Street, Emma Goodwin and Sally Andrews are getting premises for their File & Forge Jewellery School and Workshop ready for opening later in May.

Emma Goodwin and Sally Andrews getting set to open File & Forge (46606569)
Emma Goodwin and Sally Andrews getting set to open File & Forge (46606569)

They have been running their business for the past eight years in Hatfield Heath, but decided to move into Sawbridgeworth as it is “a really lovely community”.

Emma, a mum of two young children and a former Leventhorpe School student, said that she and Sally used to work at Gowan Jewellers and have taken over premises at 3 Bell Street, a “prime location”.

They had to scale down the school and workshop side of the business during the lockdowns and concentrate on repairs, but Emma said they planned to begin running them again.

They run wedding ring workshops and have the first couple booked for May 14, while the teaching workshops will begin after May 17.

“People love to learn a new skill and it’s also a social experience,” said Emma, who lives in Quendon.

The two women are not fazed by opening a new business in the wake of the most trying trading conditions in living memory.

“We want to prove to ourselves that we can do this,” said Emma, who revealed that the new BBC Two TV series All That Glitters, aiming to find Britain’s best jeweller and hosted by comedian Katherine Ryan, had sparked a lot of interest in their workshops.

She added: “We wanted to build the business up and grow – it was either do it now or never do it.”

Another two new additions to the town are So Sassy Boutique, which opened at the end of last year, and Empawrium pet groomers, who moved from Crumps Farm to Bell Street in April.

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