A much-loved Cheshire farm shop has received a new owner for Christmas.
Paul Walker, the former general manager of popular gastro-pubs The Goshawk and The Fishpool Inn, has bought Applegates Farm Shop on the A41 in Milton Green near Tattenhall.
After two years running a mobile smokehouse and barbecue catering business from a vintage Citroen HY van, Paul says buying Applegates is a dream come true.
The 36-year-old of Tarvin said: “I’ve always wanted something exactly like Applegates - it was my aim to find somewhere when I turned 40.
“I didn’t imagine it would be possible before then, but then the opportunity came up and I couldn’t let it pass by.
“It’s certainly jumping in at the deep end, buying a business in the weeks before Christmas, but everyone has been so welcoming and I’m really excited about being here.”
Paul bought the business from Gareth Scott who, after two years at the helm, left to go back to his roots in the farming industry.
Paul said: “Gareth and his family have been really supportive during our first week here and we can’t thank them enough. We wish Gareth the best of luck.”
Paul says he has no plans to change anything that customers love about Applegates, in particular the small team of staff.
But in the coming months, he intends to add a working smokehouse and sell products from his first business Smohk and Mischief, which have proved popular with clients - including speciality smoked briskets and gin and tonic smoked salmon.
And he wants to build on the shop’s reputation for sourcing locally, which secured it the Taste Cheshire Local Produce Shop Award last year.
Paul added: “This has always been a passion of mine and we want to find more and more local suppliers and producers to work with.”
To celebrate Paul’s arrival, Applegates is holding a Christmas prize draw for customers, with the main prize being a £100 hamper.