Just before Christmas, traders had told local weekly The Lynn News they had never known business so bad in the town, with shops almost deserted in what should have been the busiest shopping period of the year.
But the arrival of the sperm whale, which washed up on Old Hunstanton beach on Christmas Eve, brought a fresh flood of visitors into the town.
Kevan Fleming, owner of Legge’s store, said: “It has been a godsend for us. The whale on our beach has brought a tremendous amount of business through."
Tourists from outside the area flocked down to the beach - for the rare and fascinating chance to see such a large animal up close.
Leicestershire schoolgirl Charlotte Kearn told Hatfield Hines 'Our Mum and Dad made a special trip here so me and my brother Adam could both see the whale. My Nan had seen it on the TV News!'
However, the new arrival also brought rather more macabre repercussions. Police are continuing to investigate after parts of the whale were illegally removed and allegedly offered for sale.
Within five days of its arrival, all of the whale’s teeth had been removed and there were rumours that it’s lower jaw bone had been sliced off with a chainsaw.
Police have said no further action will be taken against a juvenile who was questioned after parts of the whale were offered for sale on Facebook.
But a spokesman added: “Enquiries continue into other reports of the theft and sale of whale remains linked to the sperm whale washed up on the beach at Old Hunstanton.”