'The Little Shop' opens offering Sunderland luxuries as food and drink businesses set up co-op takeout

A new takeout business is opening in Sunderland to meet the increase in demand for quality products to enjoy at home.

Thursday, 28th May 2020, 5:08 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th May 2020, 5:08 pm

The owners of established businesses Holmeside Coffee, Mexico 70, Ship Isis and Independent have teamed up to open The Little Shop co-op in High Street West.

Housed in the former Holmeside Takeout unit, next door to Mexico 70, the new venture specialises in craft ales, natural and orange wine, craft lager and cider, takeout coffee and hand-rolled doughnuts.

As well as allowing people to enjoy quality produce at home while cafes and restaurants are closed, it’s also providing brands and products that aren’t available from supermarket shelves.

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Neil Bassett (left) and Joe Collins outside of the joint business venture in High Street West.

Craft beers, ranging from British to Belgian brands, include brews from Anarchy Brew Co, S43, Sierra Nevada, Salt Beer Factory, Delirium and more. Meanwhile, the wine offering features those using organic practices and low-intervention techniques.

People missing their caffeine fix from the main Holmeside Coffee in the Winter Gardens will be able to pick up a coffee to go, as well as artisan doughnuts.

The Little Shop was in the pipeline before lockdown, but as restrictions are gradually eased, the business owners felt now was the right time to plug a gap in the market.

Joe Collins, from Holmeside Coffee, explained: “The plan for the business was in place before lockdown. We’d been using the site before for a takeout version of Holmeside, but the demand for just coffee wasn’t quite there in this area yet, as not all the offices nearby have been built yet etc.

Some of the craft beers available for takeout

“We came up with the idea of offering something more than coffee, with brands people can’t get elsewhere.”

Once neighbouring Mexico 70 and other restaurants open, the plan is to also use Little Shop as a small bar area where you can enjoy Espresso Martinis made using Holmeside Coffee and Mexico 70 cocktails, such as its popular margaritas. Once Independent in Holmeside reopens, you’ll also be able to pick up gig tickets at the site.

Neil Bassett, from Mexico 70 and Ship Isis, said: “We often have people waiting for tables at Mexico 70, so this would be an ideal place for them to wait and grab a drink.”

Speaking about the initial offering, he said: “It’s high end products that people usually travel outside of Sunderland to find, but we definitely think the demand is there and we’ve already had a lot of pre-orders. People didn’t think tacos would work in Sunderland when we first opened Mexico 70, but it has.”

Joe Collins from Holmeside Coffee

The Little Shop will open with a one in, one out policy, from 11am on Friday, May 29 with initial opening hours of Wednesday to Saturday 11am to 5.30pm. People can just come along to the shop, or they can click and collect through the website https://thelittleshop.uk/

It comes as the Echo is running its #SupportLocal campaign to encourage people use local businesses where possible. For a guide to some of the other independents you can support see here.

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