TWO new stores have recently opened in Northallerton high street – joining several other new businesses opening in the town this year.

A shop run by a retired maths teacher Ellen Leafe, who was inspired by the premature birth of her grandson, is the latest business to open in Northallerton’s Central Arcade.

All of the arcade’s units are now occupied, with Poppit’s Baby Boutique joining Brown’s Beds and the Central Stop Cafe who moved there earlier this year.

“This is great news and, although it’s been a difficult year in retail, this shows that it’s not all doom and gloom,” said Richard Wilson, senior associate partner at Dodds Brown, the commercial property agency which acts for the arcade’s owner Barkers.

Mrs Leafe’s grandson Arthur, now a one-year-old, was born seven weeks early. “We had everything for a new baby being born, but we didn’t anything for a baby born prematurely and there wasn’t anything in the shops for a baby that size,” she said.

Mrs Leafe, who taught at the Wyvern Academy in Darlington, started an online business selling baby clothes, and began running a market stall in Northallerton in April and was sufficiently encouraged to open a shop.

Poppit’s Baby Boutique’s range starts with outfits for babies weighing as little as 3lbs and finishes with clothes for 10-year-olds.

Although the business is also still online, Mrs Leafe thinks it is important for customers to be able to see and feel the quality of her clothes.

She also enjoys their interaction. “Being a teacher you’re with people all day. I would miss that,” she said.

Her neighbour in Central Arcade is 24-year-old Northallerton woman Sarah Johnson, the owner of Central Stop Café, said: "“When I saw that this was available I knew the potential it had, so just went for it,” she said.

On the high street, men's clothing store Brook Taverner is opening this week.

Jason Scott, managing director, said: “We opened our first Yorkshire store in Beverley in June and we have been delighted with the response.

"Northallerton was at the top of our list of targets for a number of years, therefore when a suitable store became available it was an easy decision to open our second store in such a prosperous town."

Roger Meeke, retail director, added: “We are delighted with the new store and cannot wait to open the doors and welcome both new and old customers with our host of high-quality range of menswear clothing."

Although the Central Arcade is now full, there are other opportunities for businesses in the nearby Barkers Arcade, also off the high street.

Details are available from Richard Wilson of Dodds Brown on 01642-244130 or via