Retired Yetholm couple Roy and Barbara Maltby have opened a coffee shop in the village.
The View at Yetholm has seating for 20 people and opened above the couple’s village shop at the end of October.
The idea came about in response to the recession, explained Barbara: “People may not be dining out as much but I think there has been a coffee revolution. People are more aware of coffee, they’re more discerning: people don’t just want a cup of instant coffee any more.”
She and others tasted many coffees in pursuit of the perfect bean before settling on an Arabica blend: “We’ve had tastings and explanations and training,” said Barbara.
There is also a selection of speciality teas in the beautifully-decorated eaterie, which also sells gifts, including jewellery, scarves, hats, gloves, socks, soaps, booklets and cards.
Home baking is a feature and also on offer will be home made soup, paninis and sandwiches. Barbara said: “We’re keeping it simple and good.”
Work started on the project in May, with builders having to put up steps to the empty space above the village shop.
Barbara said: “It was literally an empty space and the previous owners had taken the stairs out, so access was extremely problematic.”
She further explained some of the thinking behind the new venture, saying: “We wanted to increase footfall in the village and within the shop and that’s why the entrance is through the village shop.
“We wanted to advertise how much we have here: we’re not just tins of baked beans and cat food, we’ve got more to offer. The shop sells smoked salmon and ground coffee and pates, lovely biscuits, a nice selection of wines and things like that. The theory is that people coming to the coffee shop will look and buy in the village shop.”
Two years ago the couple thought of retiring and had the store on the market. A number of people were interested, said Barbara, and all of them planned to develop the space above the shop, but were concerned about gaining planning permission. No sale materialised, so Barbara and Roy decided to push on and get the green light from the council themselves.
And last week, only a week after opening, Barbara was already placing more gift orders to replenish shelves.
The couple expect much of their custom will come from walkers completing or starting the Pennine Way, those stopping at the village while walking St Cuthbert’s Way, and starting or finishing the Scotland end- to-end trail.
Barbara said: “We get a lot of walkers through but we want to attract more walkers or people coming out for a nice drive up to Yetholm and maybe doing one of our shorter walks – we have a booklet describing them – and to come for coffee. And we hope the ‘ladies who lunch’ will want to come to Yetholm too.”
Roy, a former industrial chemist with an American oil company, and Barbara, who is an ex-benefits manager for a large national accountancy firm, used to holiday in Northumberland and had planned to retire to the area.
However, Barbara said: “We couldn’t find a house, but fell in love with the house we bought in Yetholm.”
That was 15 years ago. At the time they ran an antiques and gift shop in Wooler and they bought Yetholm’s village shop 10 years ago.
The View at Yetholm has free wifi and is open from 10am to 4pm Monday to Saturday and from noon to 4pm on Sunday. For more information contact the coffee shop on 01573 420314.