Lowick Village Store is open for business thanks to the community, which pitched in to help the clean up effort after the shop was hit by fire.
Shop owner Lynsey Pitman, who lives on the premises with her two children, returned to the store on December 10 to find the dishwasher alight.
“Luckily for us we were out when it happened and nobody was hurt,” she said.
But the fire struck a devastating blow to the business. “The fire damage was limited but the whole shop was smoke damaged and all stock had to be disposed off,” Lynsey explained.
“It couldn’t have happened at a worse time. We had Christmas hampers made up that had been ordered and paid for. They were destroyed and we couldn’t replace them as deliveries are only once a fortnight over the Christmas period.”
While the shop building was out of action, Lynsey ran a make-shift store from her living room, then a neighbours caravan, selling papers and supplies bought in from Berwick.
“There’s a lot of elderly people in the village who rely on us being here,” she explained. “As much as giving up would have been easier, we knew we had to carry on.
“People could not have been more kind, generous and understanding. Everyone rallied round. We were inundated with offers of help and had an amazing team of people in to clean for two days.”
The shop reopened eight days later, and the coffee shop is due to be up and running again by the end of the month.
“Christmas has been a complete wash out for us and we are desperate to get things back the way they were, and to spread the word to say we are still here,” Lynsey said. “We also want to say a huge thank you to all our loyal customers, and those who helped us get back on our feet.”
Lynsey has been running Lowick Village Store for the last two and a half years.
In November her team was awarded a certificate from the Rotary Club for their efforts, and at the beginning of December the store received the Lowick Community Award, voted for by members of the public.