A NEW café and shop is opening in Hexham.

The Natural Grocer on Cattle Market at the former site of Nichol & Laidlow will sell cooks' ingredients and other niche products that are not available in most supermarkets.

Owners Joanne and Gordon Moore sold their former business, the Otterburn village store The Border Reiver, in November last year. They had run the shop for more than 20 years.

"The novelty wears off when you do anything for 20 years, you want to look at something different," said Joanne.

Gordon added: "We had been looking at various business opportunities, dozens of them in fact, and we finally decided that the one for us was the site we're moving into in Hexham.

"We see Hexham as a market town definitely being on the rise in terms of the number and the quality of independent retailers. The offering that we will create, we don't see it being replicated anywhere else in the Tyne Valley."

The pair, who live in Rochester, had first planned to open a shop in Newcastle's Grainger Market, but said due to issues with the lease they were offered, they were advised to reject it by their solicitor.

As well as selling niche grocery products, the shop has been granted a licence to sell alcohol for consumption on and off the premises.

They plan to sell craft beer, gin, and organic and vegan wines.

"We're trying to give people an alternative offering," said Joanne.

"We're looking for things that have come from small producers, either within Northumberland, or from the Lakes or Yorkshire, or a little wider afield within the UK.

"Quality is the most important thing."

The Natural Grocer will also have a café space, with customers able to try some of the products on sale.

Gordon said: "What we're trying to do is to create a space that when you look in, you go 'wow!'."

Joanne added: "We want to make it as welcome and inclusive and inviting as we can.

"We're trying to have different prices so everyone can come in."

Joanne and Gordon hope to open the venue by the end of August, but are currently facing delays due to currently having no electricity amid complications re-energising the property.

"We're so excited to get started," said Joanne.

They are currently looking for more staff members. Anybody interested can visit their Facebook page for more details.