Popular Etchingham shop reopens its doors

Huw Merriman with James and Jennie Thiele
Huw Merriman with James and Jennie Thiele

A village store, which suddenly closed in the summer, has reopened.

The Etchingham Shop & Deli opened its doors for business on December 3 where Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, attended the reopening.

The store closed suddenly at the end of August. Personal reasons forced the previous management to close the doors of the award-winning shop and deli, leaving the village without its much treasured resource.

The Etchingham Community Interest Company (CIC) immediately started to look for a new team to carry on the good work, with James and Jennie Thiele taking over in time for Christmas.

Colin Phillips, chairman of the CIC, said: “The shop and deli had built an excellent reputation for good fresh food and great service so demand was high for it to quickly reopen.

“We originally opened the shop in 2012 with funding from Etchingham Parish Council, the Rother Rural Partnership, Rother District Council, the directors of the CIC and other local private sponsors.

“This time around everything was in place in terms of the building and much of the stock, but we urgently needed the right people to run it and build a team to serve the community. There was an excellent response to our advertisement and we are delighted that James and Jennie Thiele are keen to take this community project to the next stage.”

James is a trained chef specialising in classic French cooking and modern British cuisine. He has been in the catering and food industry for more than 16 years and most recently held positions at Waitrose Steak and Oyster Bar at Canary Wharf in London and at Plumpton College in Lewes.

He said: “I passionately believe that the food you eat should be nutritious and healthy but also taste incredible. Sharing this passion for good food via the Etchingham Shop & Deli is really exciting and with our food-loving team we are committed to providing a fantastic range of quality food and ingredients with a focus on local and seasonal produce.”

The store won the Countryside Alliance Start-up Award 2012 and Countryside Alliance Village Shop of the Year, South East Region in 2013.

It stocks daily essentials, newspapers and offers Take out Thursdays when home cooked meals can be collected every Thursday evening.

The delicatessen counter stocks specialist cheeses, freshly made to order sandwiches, homemade cakes and sausage rolls. An addition to the menu is the Etchingham Egg, a free-range, soft boiled egg encased in a secret sausage meat recipe, rolled in breadcrumbs, deep fried and served warm.

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