AFTER 10 years of creating a buzz around town, the owners of a popular deli are reluctantly selling up.

Ian and Jayne Pope opened Deli at Number 4 on Hexham's Beaumont Street in 2012, and the cafe and takeaway service has become a staple of the town during that time.

But Mrs Pope suffered a back injury three years ago which limited the amount of time she could work, coupled with a fractured ankle during a fall at Christmas, meaning that the Popes were looking for somebody to take over the business.

The family said: "Recovery is proving to be a very long process and will result in a permanent limiting of ability. This, plus other family commitments have forced our decision to find someone else to take over the Deli. We want to reassure our customers that the Deli will not close. We will continue trading until we find someone who will take it over.

"It has been a heart breaking decision to make as this has been our life for almost a decade. We have wonderful customers, many of whom are now dear friends. To ensure the customers are still treated as friends we intend to support the new buyer until they are happy in their new business."

The Popes started the business in the vacant Taylor's fish shop in the winter of 2011, and tried out their cakes on the building team, little knowing that would be one of the cornerstones of their business. Prior to its opening in March 2012, the family had to put in a lot of groundwork to get the word out there.

The family said: "We took stalls in the market, local fairs and shows. We gave away lots of samples. All the hard work paid off and we are now a landmark in the town. Everyone knows where Deli 4 is."

Even during Covid-19, the shop was a shining example. While the upstairs tea room was closed, the shop remained open to allow shoppers still get essential food.

"As we were the only place selling flour and yeast the town was full of folks with a bag of flour and a satisfied grin," the couple said.

"We can be relied on to go the extra mile with a hamper for a birthday, a cake for a party, a special cheese that can’t be found anywhere else, packed lunches for walking groups and much more. This is what makes a business like ours different and keeps the customers returning."