Former Boots in Morpeth will be home to zero waste shop and café

A prime business spot in Morpeth town centre is being given a new lease of life – as a zero waste cafe and shop.

By Andrew Coulson
Friday, 27th May 2022, 5:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 3:36 pm

Imogen Roth opened Healthy Prep Kitchen in Newgate Street four years ago, and she and her team have received two national Good Food Awards.

The Covid-19 pandemic meant she could not keep it going, but she kept the unit and turned it into a successful zero waste shop called Eco Morpeth.

And now the 28-year-old – who has a son, Theo, born in September 2020 – is looking forward to moving into the unit that was formerly a Boots store and pharmacy.

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Imogen Roth and the business unit that was formerly a Boots pharmacy.

The bigger premises means she will be able to have a zero waste shop and a café.

It will be called The Market Place, a nod to the location and the nature of the eco shop, and ten new staff have been hired.

Imogen said: “I’m extremely excited about the opening. The current plan is to have an open evening on June 16 and an official opening on June 17.

“The shop will be closed on June 4 and in the gap, we will have a stall in the Sanderson Arcade.

“This has been in the planning since autumn last year as I’ve had my eye on this unit for quite some time and I’m looking forward to bringing a prime location back into use and seeing the reaction of our regulars and new customers.

“I was able to get a business grant from Northumberland County Council for 30 per cent of the funding on the basis that I would be responsible for the other 70 per cent and I did an online Crowdfunder that raised £2,600 in 28 days – an amazing response from the 123 people who donated.

“The inside of the building is getting updated and we’re making some new rooms. A friend, who is well-known in the construction industry, has helped with the design plans and I’ve been using local contractors.

“As well as our ethos of sustainability for the shop and café, the opening hours for the café to start off with will be 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday (10am to 4pm on Sundays) as only the Morpeth Costa Coffee branch currently caters for people in the town before 9am and after 5pm.”

Having lived in Morpeth from the age of six, Imogen studied real estate at Northumbria University in Newcastle and joined a chartered surveyor firm in 2015, but realised after just four months there that is was not for her.

She spent two years in Australia having decided to go there to experience a different lifestyle and this had a part to play in her business decision in 2020.

Imogen said: “I moved back to Morpeth in 2017 and after initially working at Café des Amis, I followed my dream when the opportunity came up to take on a unit in Newgate Street as I’m passionate about cooking.

“We built up a good customer base and the food was sustainably sourced. It’s a shame that the effects of Covid lockdowns meant I couldn’t sustain the café.

“However, remembering that quite a few cafés in Australia also had zero waste shops attached gave me the idea to replace the café with Eco Morpeth.”