Updated: Aug 12, 2019
Goodness, can you believe it's almost mid August?? I know! We can hardly believe it either - the summer months are coming to an end already... :( Next week is week four of the main school summer holidays, ('the six weeks' as we used to call it in our day - or at least in my area of the North East). Soon it'll be time for new school uniforms, new shoes, fresh haircuts... and for the rest of us who are beyond school age, we will be saying hello to those chilly autumn mornings with dew on the grass, warm scarves and clouds of frosty breath when we exhale.....
Sorry.... sorry..... I know. I'm not trying to be down on the summer or anything. After all, it really is my most favourite time of the year. Give me bright blue skies and Mr big yellow golden sunshine any time. It far out wins Jingle bells for me!! But there is no getting away from it, this year has absolutely flown by so far. And we are more than half way already.
What a year it has been. If you visit us regularly you will have seen for yourselves, we have made lots of tweaks and a few changes going in to our second year of biz. One thing about us - if you haven't already guessed.... we don't believe in letting the grass grow beneath our feet! Well, what would be the point in that eh? Keep it moving, keep it interesting, keep it fresh. That's our belief - and it certainly seems to be working so far.
Our new delicatessen opened at the end of June, just as we celebrated our biz birthday. We'd had one whole year @Winstonberry in Gainford on the 6th of July. In business terms this was our first major milestone - and the first twelve months have absolutely whizzed by. Our opening date will always stay fresh in my mind because it is also my wedding anniversary :)
Looking back over our first year feels quite surreal in all honesty. It seems like no time at all since we donned our painting and cleaning gear and set to, cleaning, painting and prepping the building. The B&B has been popular - but it is probably an area we need to pay more attention to in terms of publicity and advertising to attract more guests moving forward. And the reason for that possibly lies in the fact that we literally hit the ground running with the cafe. We were busy from the get go - which is amazing - and we are so very grateful. But with just the two of us, and Oliver my son, in between his Uni studies - it took a little time to catch our breath and begin to get settled in before then taking staff on board. On that subject, we have been extremely lucky to have had some lovely people help us in our first year. Alice, our very first "Saturday Girl" (sorry, showing my age again people), has also been with us a year now and she has been an absolute star. I don't think we'd have managed without her! Over time, three grew to nine! I still include Oli because he still steps in when needed, to give Chloe and I a much needed occasional break. Technically we are a team of eight right at this precise moment, because Tom has sadly left us for pastures new. He's just been accepted on an apprenticeship in Barnard Castle as a Joiner/woodworker - so as sorry as we are to say goodbye to Tom, we are all absolutely thrilled to bits for him and wish him all the success for his future.
The deli opening has been a huge success! We have a lovely range of goodies from both local producers and some further afield. Among the favourites are both Teesdale and Weardale cheeses, Doris is proving very popular indeed! We have two deliveries of the most delicious artisan bread from Rise Bakery, based along the road in Crook, as well as traditional sweeties which we weigh in quarter pounds (ok so 115g if we are being politically correct!), Findlaters pates are THE BEST we've ever tasted.... the list goes on and on....
So as we move into the new biz year, I'm certain you will see lots and lots of new and lovely things.... especially for the coming winter (ok Christmas - I'll risk saying the word) season.
Very recently we have taken on a fashion label and are now selling a small capsule selection of Designer clothing and jewellery. This is an area Chloé would really like to expand upon, given her fashion degree and previous working background. I think it's possibly a case that you can't get away from what really holds your passion. So watching this space going into year two, I'd be very surprised if we don't have our own label soon.... You see, its a boutique, unique, shopping and lunching experience we are aiming for (ladies) everyone! At the end of the day, people love to find a little hidden gem and enjoy a spot of shopping, a really, really good (hello @Ringtons Triple Cert) coffee, a spot of fresh and tasty lunch, or maybe somewhere lovely to enjoy a celebration with a fabulous and delicious afternoon tea. We are ticking so many boxes already - and certainly hope to fulfil a few more moving forward..... keep watching this space!
Moving into Autumn we will be starting to think about organising our crafty events on the run up to....dare I say.....Christmas? The Christmas Wreath making class was so popular last year, going from 1 to 3 classes in a fortnight! So, it's definitely something we'd like to do again. If you are interested in attending any of the craft sessions, we'll be posting information in the shop, and on Facebook etc, but we recommend booking early to avoid disappointment.
Due to one or two 'things' happening in the near future (namely birthday celebrations), we will be taking a few days off. Sorry folks but it's a family biz so on occasion, we just can't avoid it.
So - the dates to note (the shop will be closed on the following dates);
Tuesday 27th August
Tuesday 3rd - Thursday 5th September (inclusive)
Saturday 12th - 15th October (inclusive)
Thats about all for now lovely followers. As ever, take care and hope to see you very soon,
Dawn & Chloé xx