Two new businesses, both of which have recently opened in Wooler, have expanded the village’s food and drink offering.
Jacqualine Kurio has taken on Wooler Milk Bar, offering quality coffee and tea as well as food, all locally sourced where possible, while Amanda Campbell has opened Cheviot Farm Bakery in High Street.
Jacqualine, who was living and working in Japan for 13 years before returning to the UK, is hoping that the Milk Bar can become a meeting place for the community once more, reigniting the role it had well back into the last century.
To that end, she is trying to connect with local businesses and use local producers as far as possible; already Doddington Dairy ice cream is a key component on her menu.
“I’m making a point of connecting with as many local businesses as possible,” she said. “I’m trying to get everything as locally as possible, even within Wooler.
“The idea we have these days of think global and act local is a very sensible one.
“I’m coming in as an outsider and I’m spending a lot of time speaking and listening to people.”
She may be an outsider to Wooler, but Jacqualine does have ties to north Northumberland with her dad coming from Amble. He was in the army and the family lived around the country, but often came to the county for holidays and family gatherings.
Jacqualine only opened up a couple of weeks ago, but she says the response has been very positive already.
“I have had lots of local people coming in and saying it’s so lovely to see it open,” she said. “I’ve also had passers-by saying it’s nice that they will be able to stop here again.”
And despite the house speciality being a pulled pork roll with coleslaw and barbecue sauce, Jacqualine hasn’t ignored her time in Japan.
There are plans to introduce a range of Japanese teas, while their attention to customer service has also influenced Jacqualine.
“The Japanese pay so much attention to everything they are doing,” she said. “They have the idea that you don’t now how to do anything unless you have been doing it for seven years.
“Care for the customer is important as well – it starts even before they come in the door.”
Visit www.woolermilkbar.com or Wooler Milk Bar on Facebook for more information.
Meanwhile, local produce is also king at Cheviot Farm Bakery, run by Amanda Campbell with help from Lizi McFarlane, with fresh bread from Lee Moor, Rennington, jams from the Ingram Valley, eggs from Chatton and fresh, homemade scones.
Amanda used to work as a dental and doctors’ receptionist, but took the plunge when the premises, in Wooler’s High Street, became available.
“I think Wooler needed it, it’s in a prime location and it’s proven very successful,” she said.
The bakery makes fresh sandwiches every day and people are welcome to ring ahead so that they are ready to collect, while come autumn, Amanda intends to offer jacket potatoes and soups.
And as with Jacqualine, she is happy to listen to people’s suggestions. “It’s hard when you’ve never done it before to know what people want,” she added.
For more, visit Cheviot Farm Bakery on Facebook.