Store’s busy growing a new branch at the park

Richard Rutherford, Managing Director and owner of Rutherfords, with Mrs Emily Cookson, Owner and Manager of the Meldon Park Kitchen Garden.
Richard Rutherford, Managing Director and owner of Rutherfords, with Mrs Emily Cookson, Owner and Manager of the Meldon Park Kitchen Garden.

MORPETH’S long-serving department store is branching out with a new venture as it teams up with a country estate.

Rutherfords of Morpeth and Meldon Park are proving that two’s company for the launch of a pop-up shop.

Both have a long association with the area as family-owned Rutherfords has traded in Bridge Street since 1846, while Meldon Park has been in the Cookson family since it was built in 1832.

Now Emily Cookson, who manages Meldon Park’s Kitchen Garden Cafe, seven miles west of Morpeth, has invited Rutherfords Managing Director Richard Rutherford and his wife Jane, the store’s buyer, to open a small branch in her spare retail space.

Mrs Cookson, whose historic home was recently featured on Channel 4’s Country House Rescue programme, said: “I’m new to business, but there are people out there with huge knowledge and experience so I decided to approach Jane and Richard to ask if they would be interested in opening a pop-up shop.

“I didn’t want to make a huge outlay for Christmas stock and then have it left over so allowing Rutherfords to have a satellite business made perfect business sense.

“It’s a great way of linking up two businesses and we can introduce new customers and new business to each other.

“It is our aim to work with and strengthen the Meldon Park estate community, developing a sustainable and robust business which can be passed on to the next generation, while at the same time meeting the changing needs of our community.”

The shop, which opened last week, sells gifts, luxury homewear and textiles.

It will run until Christmas, but it is already attracting so much interest that the initiative could be repeated in the future.

Mr Rutherford said: “Businesses that try something new and reach out to a new customer base are the ones who will come out of recession the strongest. As well as the pop-up shop at Meldon Park, we are also selling online and have started opening on Sundays.

“We are always looking at innovative ideas as even during the current climate businesses should not stand still if they want to have a bright future.

“This is a very exciting project, which brings together two parties with huge history. Rutherfords has traded through five generations since 1846 and Meldon Park was built in 1832.

“Meldon Park’s customers are our type of customers so we expect the pop-up shop to be very popular.”