ONE of Morpeth’s oldest cafes is being given a face-lift.
The Wheatsheaf Coffee Shop has been serving up refreshments to customers in Wheatsheaf Yard, off Newgate Street, for around 40 years.
The business has changed hands over the decades and before Christmas it was taken on by Ellen Stephenson.
She couldn’t wait to put her own stamp on the premises and this week a major refurbishment is taking place.
“We are changing quite a bit,” she said.
“There were bench seats in there so they are coming out, and we are going to take out an old wall between the two seating areas and make it one bigger room.
“There will be a kind of lounge sofa area in the bottom end, and we are putting a new coffee machine in.
“Really, it will be dragging the place kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.”
The cafe venture marks a complete career change for Mrs Stephenson, who decided to take on the business after she was made redundant from her role as an Area Manager for Farmway.
However, she is no stranger to catering as she grew up around the business.
“This is something I have always wanted to do,” she said.
“My family are from a catering background. I grew up on Holy Island where my family had a number of businesses, including a coffee shop, and my grandparents had a big hotel so it is in the blood.”
Mrs Stephenson has been planning the alterations to the cafe since she took over the business on December 1, but once settled the project came together quite quickly, leaving her just about a week to let customers know what was happening.
She said: “I only found out that the work was going ahead about a week beforehand so there wasn’t much chance to let the customers know, but I have been telling them since I took the cafe over that I was planning to do this.
“The customers seem absolutely fine about the changes. A lot of them have said they are looking forward to seeing what we do with the place.
“The business is good. The customers are very loyal and keep coming in. I just would like to give something back to Morpeth.”
The coffee shop has been closed this week for the refurbishment work to be carried out, but it is expected to re-open on Saturday.