AFTER two decades in education, a Hexham woman has taken the plunge to create an artisan business in her home town.

Alison Smith celebrated the opening of her business, Matthias Winter, in Hallstille Bank, with a grand unveiling.

Alison, who lives in Hexham with her husband Duncan and teenage children Matthew and Eleanor, said: “I really felt there was a gap in the market that I could fill with Matthias Winter.

“I wanted to bring together a range of stylish, design-led UK and Scandinavian products, giving people a go-to destination for home accessories and gifts.

“The shop is named after my great grandfather who was a shopkeeper and we will be running the business as a family affair with all of us involved.

"This is my first step into retail having worked in early years and primary education for the past 20 years.

"I hope to have a website for the business up-and-running in the near future.”

During the opening, Northumberland County Councillor for Hexham West, Derek Kennedy, cut the ceremonial ribbon.

He said: "I am delighted to welcome a new independent trader to Hexham. Good luck to Alison in her new venture; we all need to support local businesses and our high street given the challenging environment.

“It has been exciting to watch Alison develop the shop and finally open, and it was great to be the first customer through the door.”

Matthias Winter will be open Monday to Saturday, from 9am to 5pm.