TOY shop Bear Bottom comes out on top as this week's featured North-East trader.

Durham-based toys, gifts and collectables store Bear Bottom is owned and run by Fraser and Chris Harbron-Hall.

The pair moved their store from Houndgate in Darlington, where it was founded in 2010, to Durham Market Hall in 2011 and expanded to have two additional stalls; Quirky Hole has a range of unique and quirky home décor ideas and gifts while Feel Good is the place to find fashion accessories and jewellery.

On memorable moments, Mr Harbron-Hall recalled actress and author Sheila Hancock looking around Bear Bottom a few years ago.

Mr Harbron-Hall said: "As far as I can remember Sheila was looking at our soft toys I didn't recognise her, but Lynn who worked for us said don't you know who that was? So we had someone famous in the store and didn't know who she was."

The team of four, the Harbron-Halls and their two employees, were eager to return to work after the coronavirus pandemic.

"We would just like to get back to something that resembles normality, but think we are going to have to adapt to the situations as they occur, try to make the best of the new regulations and still try to offer our same fantastic service in a new way of socially distancing retail," the business owner said.

With Durham Market Hall reopening yesterday, these are the challenges the Harbron-Hall's, like many other retailers and market stall operators in the North-East, must overcome.

Hopeful shoppers will be welcomed to the site, including to Bear Bottom, from 9am to 4.30pm, Monday to Saturday, at units 9, 10, 11, 12, 16 and 22.

The Northern Echo understands most businesses are currently not operating as normal due to the ongoing pandemic, but we hope to use Trader of the Week to support locals businesses – especially as the region emerges out of lockdown.

Are you a local business owner or trader? To be featured in the weekly segment, email