FORDINGBRIDGE has welcomed a new business to the town thanks to a woman hoping to showcase local produce.

Clare Johnston opened The Gourmet Grocers, in High Street, on Saturday after spotting a gap in the market.

Over the past few months Mrs Johnston and her husband Gareth having been working hard to get the shop ready.

“There seemed to be a bit of a gap in the market in Fordingbridge after the longstanding owners of the greengrocers closed the shop down due to ill health and no one has done anything since.”

In the shop Clare, who used to work for Help for Heroes, will sell fresh fruit and vegetables, along with local produce including jams, bread and chutneys. The store stocks local cheeses as well as milk from Nunton Farm.

“I’ve got experience in retail and I used to work in a greengrocers – I’m now just excited but nervous to get the shop up and running.”

The shop was officially opened by the mayor of Fordingbridge, Cllr Malcolm Connolly, who said: "It was an occasion in itself.”

Speaking after the opening, Clare said: “It couldn’t have gone better, we had queues out of the door throughout the day. We were rammed to capacity. We didn’t move from the counter for five solid hours.”

Clare says the shop has received a welcome response from the local community, adding: “The community have been lovely saying it is just what Fordingbridge needs.”

She said: "It is just bringing different options you would normally have to travel further afield for. It keeps business back in Fordingbridge."