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The publishing firm providing ray of hope for future of retail in Diss

While the future of retail remains in the balance, the unexpected success of a Diss publishing firm might serve as a sign of promise, not only for itself, but the town as a whole.

A little over five months ago, Falcon Publishing was celebrating the release of its 25th issue of Diss’ biennial town guide – a publication showcasing local businesses.

“The guide has a long history – it’s been going for many years,” said advertising manager Gary Enderby.

Gary Enderby founded Falcon Publications alongside Sarah Veness in 2013.
Gary Enderby founded Falcon Publications alongside Sarah Veness in 2013.

“Years ago, they used to do them every three years, so that gives you some sort of idea of how long they’ve been going for.

“It only features local people – we promote local business, and it’s important to help local businesses to keep going.”

For Mr Enderby, and the six staff writers at the publishing house, the guide is one of many publications written up in its office in Hopper Way.

“We started the business with just an arts magazine called Arts East,” added Mr Enderby, who founded the company alongside business partner and former journalist Sarah Veness in 2013.

“From there, we built it up – we now do arts magazines, theatre programmes and lots of guides from across Norfolk and Suffolk.”

Barely a month had passed after the release of Diss’ milestone edition that almost every business inside it had shut its doors indefinitely, many for the first time in the 50-plus years the that guide had been circulated.

To Mr Enderby’s surprise, however, the demand for advertising space in upcoming town guides, from Aylsham to Sheringham, has shown no sign of slowing down.

He added: “It’s been really positive, and a bit surprising, actually.

“People are keen to get going again, and obviously they want to bring business back into their shops, so they’re all keen to promote themselves, which has been really pleasing.”

If the first expense to be slashed when businesses fall on hard times is marketing, then an upturn in demand for the small team at Falcon Publications must be a sign of good things on the horizon.

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