Turnbull's reveal delight at response to new Alnwick food hall

All the effort that went into ensuring an Alnwick shop opened in time for the crucial Christmas trading period has been worthwhile, says its owner.

Turnbull's staff Lauren Cooke, Poppy Coles and Kate Calderwood.
Turnbull's staff Lauren Cooke, Poppy Coles and Kate Calderwood.

The Northumbrian Food Hall, at the new Willowburn Retail Park, opened earlier this month and has received a hugely positive reaction.

Owner Mark Turnbull said: “I’m over the moon with the feedback we’ve had, both on social media and from people we’ve had in the shop.

“It’s been very busy and there have been a lot of positive comments which is nice to hear after all the work that’s been put in.

“The first day was perhaps a bit overwhelming in getting everything up and running but we’ve come a long way since then and every day we’re getting better.

“When you open the doors for the first time, you don’t really know what the reaction is going to be, but I’ve been amazed at how many well-wishers there have been.”

Turnbull’s butcher shop in the town centre – which is being retained – has also been busier than usual with orders for the festive period.

“I suppose that might be expected at this time of the year but it’s nice to see both shops have been trading successfully,” said Mark.

It has meant a lot of extra work but Mark says it was vital to have the new outlet open in time for Christmas.

“If you wanted to pick the worst possible time to open a new shop – three weeks before Christmas – then we did it,” said Mark.

“It was an important time of year to be open though.

“It was actually a massive undertaking to fill the shop from scratch, something I probably didn’t realise before,” he added.

There is still work to finish behind the scenes, while work on the first floor mezzanine cafe is pencilled in for spring into summer.

The Northumbrian Food Hall was the second unit to open on the retail park following the arrival of Starbucks last month.

An M&S Food Hall is coming on January 29, while site developer Northumberland Estates is in negotiations with other potential tenants.