A former second hand clothes shop in Haltwhistle has taken its business in a new direction to offer something to the town’s crocheting community.

Birdcage Boutique, which is well known for its Christmas window displays featuring woolly jumpers, re-opened on Monday looking very different – after it lost suppliers due to Brexit and Covid-19 last year.

Rather than closing the shop for good, owner Sandy Wilson transformed Birdcage Boutique into a wool shop after seeing that Haltwhistle’s community of knitters, crocheters, and crafters often had to travel to Newcastle or Carlisle for their wool since Beale’s in Hexham closed.

Birdcage Boutique is now an official stockist for Stylecraft, King Cole, and Sirdar wool.

These new names mark a big change for the former second hand ladies’ clothing and accessories shop.

Sandy said: “What started off as crafty corner has become a full shop of wool, buttons, ribbons and most haberdashery you might need.”

Despite the increase in online shopping during the Coronavirus pandemic, there are a number of reasons why bricks and mortar shops remain important, especially when it comes to crafts.

Sandy continued: “Wool is very tactile and sometimes the quality might not be very good when ordering online. We have kept our prices competitive with the Internet.

"I want to keep the high street alive and keeping prices low keeps people buying local.”

Over the last five years, Birdcage Boutique has not only become part of Haltwhistle’s shopping scene, but also the community.

Sandy has added a table and chairs so that customers can visit the shop and learn how to crochet free of charge.

Sandy said: “It was a successful little business and Haltwhistle welcomed me so I didn’t want to give up the shop as it has become part of my social life.I’ve always got time for a chat with the customers who might not see anyone else that day.”

She continued: “During lockdown, we did knock and collect on a Saturday morning as crafting has been important for our customers’ mental health.

"April 12 was our first day back to normal opening hours and it was lovely to see old and new customers.

"It was a busy day, the sun was out, and the street was busy.”

As well as being official stockist of the aforementioned wool, Birdcage Boutique sells crochet blankets and animals made by local artists, as well as crochet wreaths and dry felted bags and pictures made by Sandy herself.

Birdcage Boutique has been open at 1 Park View on Westgate in Haltwhistle since September 2016 and is open five days a week.

Opening hours are 10am-4pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, and 10am-1:30pm on Saturday.

It is closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.