Café celebrates five years after snow-inspired start

A popular café and bakery in a north Northumberland village is celebrating its fifth birthday this weekend.

Recent winners of the Coolest Café title at the WOW247 Awards – organised by Johnston Press North East, publishers of the Gazette – Felton’s Running Fox has established a good reputation for its food, artisan breads and home-made cakes and pies to take away.

Owner Kris Blackburn first got the idea for her business when a newsagent just a few doors down from her home came on the market.

It was the winter of 2012 and Felton, like most of the county, was covered in a thick blanket of snow, meaning the bread and newspaper vans couldn’t get in and no one could get out.

It led her to consider having a small bakery and café right in the centre of the village, baking fresh bread and serving home-made meals using local produce from Northumberland suppliers, as well as providing a few jobs for local people.

The Running Fox was born, quickly outgrowing the space available and the seating area expanded to the second floor.

More kitchen space was then needed and a temporary home for the bakery was found in Alnwick.

“I couldn’t have imagined back then how much people would love what we do,” Kris said. “I just wanted to serve the kind of food I like – delicious, home-made meals in generous portions – and luckily that seems to be exactly what people want.”

The Running Fox has provided almost 100 local people with jobs over the last five years, everything from full-time and weekend work to summer employment for students and flexible jobs for mums with young children.

Kris said: “Right from the start we had incredible support from people in Felton, then from further afield.

“Being named Northumberland’s Coolest Café recently was the icing on the cake and such a reward for my lovely team and our wonderful customers.”

But she isn’t resting on her laurels. Having wanted to move the bakery back to a village location for some time, it will now be relocated from Alnwick to Longframlington at the end of the month.

By the end of June, a bakery shop and cake bar will be open at the new venue. There’s also a chance to sample the Fox’s fare in a ‘pop-up’ format at Bywell Shooting Ground on selected days during the season.