Looking for a lifestyle change, a different pace of life and a sense of place, Jenny and Graham Hopper decided to take the plunge earlier this year when they learned that the business, which comprises the village shop, Post Office, tearoom and bed & breakfast accommodation, was for sale. The couple moved from Manchester to Northumberland in July with their son Joe, who is studying art and design at the Berwick Campus of Northumberland College, and haven’t looked back.
Jenny, who worked as a BUPA housekeeper for the last few years and has extensive experience in customer care, says “we were a little anxious about being newcomers into the village but have been made to feel so welcome by everyone that we already feel part of the community.” Graham, who has spent all his working life in design and engineering, added “The peace and tranquillity of this area is second to none. We were tired of urban living and especially of spending hours in traffic commuting a relatively short distance to and from work. I love to cycle and, outside of working in our new venture, I am looking forward to enjoying the fresh air and relatively quiet roads of north Northumberland.” He added, “Local cyclists or cycling groups looking for a good place to stop for coffee and a slice of cake are more that welcome at Ford Village Shop.”
The Hoppers have linked up with local artist Mark Irving and will be displaying some of his original paintings in the tearoom, selling these alongside a selection of his smaller prints. The couple are aiming to offer good quality products in the shop and tearoom, and they have started the process by offering teas from the Brew Tea Company and Grumpy Mule coffees in the tearoom (and these are also for sale in the shop). They are listening to their customers and over the coming weeks will concentrate on developing new lines in the shop, including everyday essentials and a range of locally produced goods.