WHEN the opportunity to take on a shop that she had once painted as a schoolgirl came up, Tynedale businesswoman Amy Brooks could hardly say no.

Mrs BArts Gallery opened its doors on December 14 at the former site of Rosina Brown's, in Stocksfield, with the aim of filling a gift-shaped void in the market.

“The reaction has been really good”, said Amy, who started street food startup Event North, based out of Broomley village, three years ago.

“It’s different to what we’ve had in the village before - it was just trying to think of what would be a bit different and bring something to the village that we needed. I’m passionate about Stockfield and keeping things local.”

And while the boutique style shop, which sells quirky gifts and cards sourced from Etsy, as well a Amy’s one-off, hand painted art work, may be a new venture, it is one that is already eyeing up future growth.

Amy, who worked for eight years in Canary Wharf, added: “There’s a lot of potential, it’s just about learning what people want.

“Eventually, when social distancing is less strict, I want to be doing more workshops and evening events in the shop, and I’m already looking at different places like Morpeth, Ripon.

“It’s scary but it’s really exciting what can be done and it’s lovely how everyone is supporting it. It’s also really nice after living here for so long, meeting people that I’ve never met before that live just down the road -you get a bit more of a connection with the community.”

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen consumer appetite soar for small, local, independents, and this festive season, was no different.

“The walls are bare, all of the paintings have sold!”, said Amy.

“It’s all a learning curve but it’s beat expectations at the moment. It’s January and February which are going to be the testing time for everyone in business, we’ll see what comes of New Year.”

MrsBArts has created two part-time jobs for local people and is open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm and Saturday 10am-5pm.