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Woodbridge Family Businesses

News ArticleWoodbridge Family Businesses

You know Woodbridge is an attractive place to shop and has a wonderful variety of independent stores. However, you may not realise that  many are  family businesses. Several have been in the same family for three generations.  Within the three featured in this article you can find fresh fish and your favourite cakes   and range of hardware you did not know still existed.

Mark Willis outside Webb Brothers

Webb Brothers at 30 Church Street has been the only dedicated hardware shop in Woodbridge for years but when the grandfather of the current owner, Mark, bought it there were 11 in Town. If you require anything from a single cup-hook to a fireguard then pop along.

There is safe service from the front door but you can view much of their range from the window display and since their motto is “We aim to please” you get great service. Their willingness to help during lock-down has resulted in many new customers

Mark told me he is “intensely proud to serve the community of Woodbridge” and having customers regale him with fond memories of coming in as a child or of his Father and Grandfather give Mark a real sense of history. Now he gets enthusiastic help from his own children.

Jo Mills, who I talked to on their doorstep recently said she loved browsing there as a child and keeps coming back. She said   to me   “Who needs Amazon for hardware when you  have Webb Brothers”.

Laurie and Paul Newberry outside The Fish Box

A “proper” hardware store is unusual but so is a shop dedicated to selling a range of fresh fish. You will see the iconic building housing The Fish Box as you enter Woodbridge from the Hamblin Road Car Park. There is plenty of parking behind it ;  275 spaces in fact in that  Car Park.

The business has been trading in Woodbridge for 27 years .Paul Newberry , who worked for years in the Lowestoft fish market, took over the business from his Father. Paul’s son, Laurie, soon became disenchanted with working in an office and returned to the family business in 2003. He told me he “missed the laughs with regular customers and satisfaction of knowing someone was going to enjoy the fish you sold them”.

The Fish Box prides itself on “only the best” local and seasonal fish including Cromer crab and Brancaster muscles.

Again, the willingness to be available with fish and chat during recent months has been appreciated by the Community.

David Wright The Cake Shop

The Cake Shop, in the Thoroughfare, is another third-generation family business.

It is run by David Wright who was recently named Britain’s Best Baker “All “David said for a recent East Anglian article because “he wanted to make his parents proud”

Well, I have News for you, David.

You have.

They were pleased to say so.

David has realised in the last few months how important it is to diversify. We are about to be treated to the opening of a fresh shop there with greater empathis on fermented food and drink.

It will not only sell your current favourites but recipes from the Shops historic  past like fondant fancies that look like frogs.

David has compared Lockdown to our Dunkirk moment when the “big ships became paralysed” but manoeuvrable “little dinghies” kept going.

We are fortunate these 3 Third generation family businesses keep going.

The Owners say it is a privilege to serve the community of Woodbridge.

It certainly has been a privilege  to write about them.

James Lightfoot.

Chairman, Choose Woodbridge.