When The Grateful Bread opened in Hexh they had no idea that within weeks the nation wuld be joining them in making sourdough.

But within weeks of throwing open their doors, the country went into lockdown, throwig up a new challenge for the bakery. 

The Grateful Bread, in Hexham, has had to adapt to life during the Covid crisis having only opened a matter of weeks before the first lockdown was introduced last March.

"We're predominantly a sour dough bakery," said Alan Jewels from the business.

"Everything is made by hand and made in one room.

"As a customer when you come into actually buy the product behind the counter you can see me or one of the other members of the team making the bread during the day.

"It's an honest hard days work for us but we get to share the process with the customers."

Alan went on to explain that although the business has had to change how they operate during the last 18 months, they are extremely grateful for the support they have received.

"We've been open since February 2020 so it was about five weeks before the pandemic started, so we've been open throughout the whole thing and its been quite a challenge navigating Covid while learning how to run a business," he explained.

"It's been a tricky one!

"It's had its challenges. We had to close for a few weeks at the very start of the first lockdown just so we could regroup and work out where we stood on certain issues and see how we could make things as safe as possible for the customers.

"It took us a while to work out the steps we needed to put in place. We did it quite early on and been able to stay open since then.

"We've had a really nice response from the community in Hexham and I'd like to think we've got quite a loyal customer base because of the way that we have been trying to keep them safe and ourselves safe."

With Covid restrictions set to again change in the coming days, the business has made the decision to keep face masks and social distancing in place to keep both the staff and their customers as safe as possible.

"The thinking behind that (face masks) is that we serve a wide range of the community, so that varies from the elderly to the very young," said Alan.

"We also serve people who are going through extensive medical issues and illnesses and we know that talking to our customers that if we can continue to act as responsibly as possible in light of the rising cases in Northumberland and surrounding areas, that it will give them a sense of being able to shop here safely and continue to do so."

As well as bread, the business has also started selling a number of sweet items including cinammon buns that have proven to be extremely popular amongst customers.

Grateful Bread Bakery on Market Street in Hexham is open Tuesday-Saturday from 8am until the bread runs out!