Rural Northants shopping destination described as a ‘jewel in the crown’ – with hopes that more people will visit
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A rural shopping destination has been described as a “jewel in the crown”, with one business owner hoping more people will come and visit the variety on offer.
The Rural Shopping Yard at Castle Ashby has acquired new businesses since the pandemic and has become a destination shopping location in Northamptonshire.
Two of the businesses, Chalk at Castle Ashby and Limeblue Gift Boutique, are run by Eloise Davis – who spoke to this newspaper to shout about what is on offer at the Yard.
Eloise is joined by Helen Craddock who runs The Deli – as well as other businesses Terrigena Furniture, The Eggshell Gallery, and an outdoors shop.
Eloise first bought and reopened Limeblue in June 2022, and took it from a traditional gift shop to a high-end gift boutique.
Chalk was run within Limeblue and as it proved “so successful”, Eloise then took over the biggest shop in the Yard site to open Chalk as a store of its own in March this year. That too has proved “super successful”.
“Customers have described the Yard as Daylesford without the price tag,” said Eloise. “It’s a jewel in the crown.”
Limeblue is known for its silver jewellery collection, Scandi ceramics, three collections of home fragrances, stocking 700 independently-made cards each month, and being the place to go for a “good quality gift and something unusual”.
Whereas, Chalk is a lifestyle store selling ladies clothing, homeware, home fragrances and a collection for dogs.
The Deli, which has existed for three decades, was taken over by Helen five years ago. Described as a “real foodie” by Eloise, Helen offers alternative foods, cheeses and wines.
Helen then went on to acquire another part of the Yard, and introduced a tapas-style menu.
When asked to describe the Shopping Yard experience, Eloise said: “It’s a really beautiful location in the Northamptonshire countryside, with stunning surrounding walks.
“You can buy beautiful food, have lunch, and mooch in some lovely shops. It’s a lovely shopping experience, with shopkeepers who really care and invest massively in customers.”
Eloise ensures all items bought from her shops are individually wrapped, that every customer is looked after, and it is a bespoke service.
“We hear customers say it is a lifeline,” Eloise added. “It’s an opportunity to have a chat and come into a lovely space. Customers feel so relaxed.”
The business owner believes it is attention to detail and customer service that sets them apart from others – by investing in the business, offering beautiful products, and employing people who look after customers.
The Falcon Hotel in Castle Ashby, which was taken over by Lord and Lady Northampton a number of years ago, has been developed into what Eloise describes as an award-winning “boujee hotel-restaurant”.
The venue attracts customers from all over the country and when Eloise was starting out, The Falcon really helped her businesses.
“Now it’s a partnership between us,” she said. “We add as much value as they add to us.”
The Shopping Yard is running a festive event on December 8 from 5.30pm until 9pm, with stallholders, fire pits and a singer. As last year proved a success, they hope this year will be just as popular.