Claire and Lisa are continuing Simon's legacy

The “new guardians” of a popular second-hand book shop in Berwick have opened up about running the business.

By Andrew Coulson
Thursday, 14th July 2022, 6:11 pm

Slightly Foxed was initially a regular feature of the town’s Buttermarket, but the then owner Dr Simon Heald felt he had taken it as far as possible on the charter market and moved to take on an empty shop unit in Bridge Street in 2017.

Dr Heald died in 2020 and after a sale process of about four months last year, two women who both loved the shop as customers received the keys to the shop.

Claire Morton and Lisa Hobman were good friends already and it did not take much convincing for them to go into partnership in order to proceed with this opportunity.

Lisa Hobman, left, and Claire Morton outside the Slightly Foxed second-hand book shop in Berwick. Picture by Canon Alan Hughes.

In Lisa’s alternative life she is a published author of contemporary fiction and on the days she is not on duty at Slightly Foxed, Claire works as a needleworker creating beautiful items for local businesses. Both are avid readers when schedules allow.

They said: “As the new guardians of the business, we were very much aware how important it was to Jenny, Dr Simon Heald’s wife, that the business continued as a second-hand book shop as it was such a passion for Simon.

“He had built it up from its origins as a well-loved market stall and we are privileged to be continuing his legacy.

“We have particularly enjoyed meeting the regular customers who have shared their stories of Simon and who are so happy that we haven’t made any drastic changes to the shop.

“We’ve certainly met some very interesting people since taking over in October.

“The variety, quality and range of books is often commented on by visitors, as is the fabulous atmosphere of the shop which feels, thanks again to Simon and his design choices, as if the building has been a book shop for decades rather than the actual five years.

“We’re both thoroughly enjoying working at Slightly Foxed. We’re both currently loving balancing running the shop alongside our other commitments and busy family lives.”

Slightly Foxed also features an eye-catching painted mural in its cupola, which features the Berwick skyline and a few recognisable characters, and Claire and Lisa recently arranged for themselves to be painted into it to put their mark on the shop.