A WELL-KNOWN farm shop and café located between Bedale and Northallerton welcomed local MP Rishi Sunak last week, following its new owners investing more than £20,000 in the property and business.

Mark and Karen Gatenby took over Spring House Farm Shop in late 2023, retaining the existing team and investing in new equipment, new windows, a brand refresh, a website, new uniforms and much more.

The Prime Minister, who is the MP for Richmond (Yorks), visited as part of a tour of the local area, speaking with staff and customers, and enjoying a pot of tea and some home-made cake.

Mark said: “When we purchased the business, we knew it was a real gem – very well known locally, a great reputation and a team who were dedicated to customer service and excellent food. We have made changes to enhance the existing business and make the customer experience even better, including moving to being open seven days a week – with record numbers of covers served.

“It was a real honour to welcome the Prime Minister here so he could see the work we have been doing and also sample some of our homemade food.”

Mark and Karen have been working hard to make these changes while supporting local businesses, including sourcing outdoor furniture from Fall Timber which is less than a mile away, and blinds being designed, made and installed by Made 2 Measure in Northallerton.

Mark continues: “Spring House has always been, and always will be, a local business employing local people and supporting the community. It’s important to us that we work with local suppliers right across the board, not just in terms of the ingredients and products that we buy and sell but for services, maintenance and more.”

In addition to a range of tasty home-made meals, cakes and treats, and a very popular Sunday lunch (all available to eat in or takeaway), the café offers ‘ready to cook at home’ meals including cottage pie, lasagne and mince and dumplings, full-size cakes and desserts made to order and much more.

Mark and Karen are currently in the process of applying for an alcohol license to sell alcohol in both the shop and café, and have plans to install a butchery/deli section that will sell locally sourced meats and cheeses amongst other things.

The farm shop and cafe is ideally situated on a main road and is easily accessible from the A1 so appeals to both regular customers, tourists and those looking for something more than a motorway service station as they pass through.