HEXHAM’S new addition to the high street has seen shoppers rushing to pick up fresh bread before it runs out.

Alan Jewels opened the Grateful Bread Bakery on Market Street on Saturday.

The bakery, which takes its name as a play on words from the 1960s American rock band the Grateful Dead, has already had an impressive number of customers.

“I had a number in my head that I thought we would sell on Saturday,” said Alan.

“I thought I would make double and if there was lots left over we would feed the neighbours, but we completely sold out in the morning.

“110 to 115 sourdough loafs went in the first hour and there was constantly seven or eight people in the queue. Now I’m going to have to work on the numbers a bit!”

On Tuesday, Alan said customers were knocking on the door before the shop opened at 8.30am.

Alan was previously head baker at a bakery in south-east London before moving back to the North-East with his wife two years ago.

He said he had been baking from home during this time, selling bread to pubs and restaurants including the Corbridge Larder and the Heart of Northumberland, before he was offered the Market Street premises by the building’s owner.

“Hexham hasn’t had a fresh daily bread bakery for quite a while. The market stalls do bread, but I think it’s different to what we do, and there’s room for everyone,” he said.

The Grateful Bread Bakery mainly sells sourdough varieties, with a few yeast options, and special varieties on weekends which have included olive bread and chocolate bread.

For the moment, Alan is focusing solely on bread, but said he hoped to expand in the future after bringing another baker on board, allowing him time to make pastries.

For now, Alan said his focus was on getting baking more each day to meet demand.

This week, customers have been reserving bread for the next day to ensure they don’t miss out.

“The response has been incredible,” said Alan.

“In my business plan, the number I wanted to be selling per week in six months is what we have sold this week.

“It could just be first week excitement but I’m really happy with how its going.”