A DARLINGTON wine merchant who has been using lockdown to expand the reach of his business is preparing to mark his shops' first anniversary.

After being forced to move his enterprise online, David Tindale, owner of Frivolity Bottle Shop, has used the opportunity to expand his customer base by offering delivery to County Durham and Teesside, and has taken on a new member of staff to meet demand.

He set up his website in March and has now had to enlist the help of web developers Webahead Internet Ltd to accommodate the ever-growing orders.

A former market trader, he opened his shop in Cockerton last July and is getting ready to mark its first anniversary.

He said: "Lockdown presented the business with many challenges and I was faced with two options – let this be the end of Frivolity or adapt to take orders remotely and continue to serve my customers.

“I managed to build a simple website a week prior to lockdown which I then promoted through social media and my customer database. Within days, orders were coming in and I was managing the business around looking after my daughter at home.”

He added: "“It’s been a strange year – certainly one I’ll never forget – but I couldn’t be happier with how far Frivolity has come.”

“We have some fantastic customers who really share our passion for wine, and I’m so grateful for all of their support during this time.

“I’ve recently brought on a new member of staff to support operations and enable the shop to re-open as soon as possible. Ultimately, I’d like to employ a team of people, each bringing the depth of expertise we offer customers to help them find their perfect tipple.

“For now though, I’m happy we’ve made it through this challenging time, and look forward to showing customers the new website and welcoming them back to the shop very soon.”