A LARGE coffee retailer has opened its doors to the public in a town's shopping centre.

Esquires Coffee shop has joined a number of new openings in Darlington's Cornmill Shopping Centre over the last two months, and was serving festive beverages to customers yesterday, October 31.

The chain has opened in a unit opposite Quiz and follows in the wake of Yours Clothing, a retailer which sells a range of high quality fashionable clothing in sizes 16 to 36, which opened in the Cornmill at the end of September.

Together Esquires and Yours Clothing create 5,500 feet of new retail space.

At the end of the summer, the Cornmill also saw the opening of the new-look Post Office and M&S Simply Food outlet following a revamp of the 10,000 sq ft WHSmith store.

The former Crown Street post office closed at the end of that month and moved into WHSmith within the Cornmill Centre. At the same time, M&S opened a Simply Food outlet within the same shop where customers can buy food during the lunchtime rush but also deli items, sweet treats and a selection of M&S meals.

The grab-and-go range brings M&S food back into the centre after the closure of the main Marks and Spencer shop on Northgate last year.

Susan Young, Centre Manager at the Cornmill Centre, said: “We’re delighted with our new openings in the centre, especially as we now offer such a wide range of food and drink options.

"Our customers have told us how pleased they are we’ve brought M&S food back into the heart of Darlington.

"We know our customers will also love the new Esquires Coffee Shop, where they can purchase an ethical Fairtrade coffee and choose from an appetizing food menu including an indulgent Full English Breakfast or healthier vegetarian and vegan options featuring fresh local ingredients.

"We’re also hoping to welcome another retailer very soon - watch this space.”

David Charlton, Asset Manager for NewRiver Retail, which owns the Cornmill, said: “The Cornmill has always had a great location in the heart of the town centre and these new openings join a raft of fabulous stores, many of which are high street favourites such as Primark, Next, or Superdrug.

"We know the importance of maintaining a strong brand offering for locals and visitors to the centre and we’re proud to confirm we are almost at capacity successfully letting 94 per cent of units. Along with a host of special events held on a regular basis, we’re ensuring the local community knows Cornmill Shopping Centre Darlington is the place to be.”