A much-missed service has been restored in Clovenfords with the opening of a new shop within the village’s hotel.
Clovenfords Hotel’s conservatory has been converted into a shop and cafe after the closure of the village’s general store earlier this year left residents facing an eight-mile round trip to Galashiels to get their groceries.
Owners Roy and Theresa McIntosh, originally from the Falkirk area, took over the hotel two and a half years ago and have been able to incorporate a shop into the hotel, thanks to a near-£4,000 grant from Pub is the Hub, an organisation encouraging licensees of rural pubs to provide community services and activities.
The funding helped cover the conversion of the hotel’s conservatory into the shop.
It stocks convenience items as well as newspapers, fruit and vegetables, delicatessen and dairy items and local art and craft works.
Roy said: “Communities like ours need day-to-day items, and they provide a lifeline for village residents.
“We have been really pleased with the feedback so far, and we are so grateful to Pub is the Hub for providing the inspiration and funding to get our shop off the ground.”
The shop has created one new full-time job and, going forward, the couple hope to organise a monthly craft and farmers’ market in the hotel grounds.
“We want to introduce anything that will bring people into the village,” Roy added. “It’s a busy road we sit on, and we’ll do everything we can to make people stop in the village.
“We’re now hoping to bring post office services back into the village too.
“Our aim is to make it a hub of the community.”
The shop and cafe are open on weekdays from 7.30am to 6pm and at weekends from 8am to 4pm.
Gordon Izatt, Scottish adviser for Pub is the Hub, added: “This has been a great example of how a co-ordinated approach to put the local pub at the heart of a community can make a real difference.
“The enthusiasm of publican Roy McIntosh was one of the key factors that made this such a success, and we are grateful to Scottish Government and Scottish Borders Council for playing their part in bringing this scheme together.”
Roy and Theresa were recently given the community pub of the year accolade at the 2017 Scottish Bar and Pub Awards for their community links and charitable fundraising.