Business expansion excites shop trader

Tom Embleton and Wendty Newton at the Fairmoor Centre.
Tom Embleton and Wendty Newton at the Fairmoor Centre.

OWNERS and managers are hoping that business will soon be booming at a new-look complex on the edge of Morpeth.

The departure of Farmway from the area about 18 months ago gave Penny Petroleum, which runs the Grandstand Services petrol station and shop in Fairmoor, a chance to expand its provision.

The company has invested between £90,000 and £100,000 to increase its trading size and add some new units. One of them is its own venture – Fairmoor Country Store.

It has leased out the remaining space to Power Equestrian and Fairmoor Arts, Crafts and Collectables.

Area Manager Wendy Newton explained that the improvements have included new air conditioning, upgrading the lighting, installing floors, freezers, chillers and coffee machines and providing hot food in the shop.

“We thought it would be worthwhile to make the investment because it meant we could sell more goods at the shop, including a large selection of wines, and set up the country store as people kept asking us if we had the types of product sold by Farmway in stock,” she added.

“A big focus of the new store is making sure we have plenty of items from local suppliers. Much of the meat, cheese and fruit and vegetables come from Northumberland-based farmers and businesses and we receive pickles, mustards and relishes from a local lady entrepreneur.

“The horse food and pet food is proving very popular with customers and if anyone wants some animal food that we don’t have on the shelves, we can make a special order.

“We’re confident that the new set-up will be a success in the long term. It helps that there is a high demand for locally-sourced meat following the horsemeat scandal.”

As well as installing an LPG pump at the petrol station in the near future, Penny Petroleum is working with the other two businesses in the building – called The Fairmoor Centre – to erect some new external signage.

Ms Newton said: “It makes sense for all three of us to work together where we can because quite a few of the people who come along to purchase items at one of the venues will also have a look around the others.”

Power Equestrian, which opened just before Christmas, sells a range of specialist horse supplies, equipment and rider clothing.

Owner Lynsey Ratcliffe said the shop has been very busy since the weather got a little warmer over the past few weeks and customers are coming from parts of north Northumberland as well as Morpeth.

Fairmoor Arts, Crafts and Collectables provides display space for well-known and up-and-coming artists and craftworkers.

Special exhibitions are being planned with seasonal and local themes and there will be a school competition for young people to showcase their talent.

Resident artist Naomi Walker is developing the studio upstairs and she is also appealing for more volunteers to help out in the shop.

For more information about the three businesses, visit www.thefairmoorcentre.co.uk