New fruit and veg business is a family-affair

Riley's fruit and veg cafe.
From left Bonnita Riley, son Keith Riley and daughter Natalie Riley
Riley's fruit and veg cafe. From left Bonnita Riley, son Keith Riley and daughter Natalie Riley

A long-running fruit and veg shop in South Tyneside has become a family affair – saving two jobs in the process.

 The future of Hutchinson’s – in Frederick Street, South Shields – looked uncertain when its previous owner decided to sell up.

Riley's fruit and veg cafe.
 Bonnita Riley

Riley's fruit and veg cafe. Bonnita Riley

But after spotting a business opportunity, it has been taken over by mother and son Bonnita and Keith Riley – and renamed Riley’.

They are joined by dad Keith senior and daughter Natalie as well as the couple’s niece Nila.

Together, the family have not only kept the fruit and veg side of the business going, they have also revamped the shop to include a cafe selling a range of home-cooked foods.

Mrs Riley, 51, said: “We had a cafe in Chichester but when the fruit and veg shop became available, we were looking to move to new premises.

“It is a lovely community here and everyone has been really supportive.”

Bonnitta Riley

“This is ideal for us. One of the main problems with the other venue was the parking, but here people have free parking.

“The shop was big, so we decided to split it, having fruit and veg on one side and the cafe on the other.

“We are doing really well, but we could do with more people coming down.

“We have had a lot people asking about the empty properties. It would be great if we could see more of the empty premises open with businesses.

“It is a lovely community here and everyone has been really supportive.”

The fruit and veg shop has been open for two and half months while the cafe has been serving up its dishes for the past three weeks.

Mrs Riley, who has worked as a charity shop manager and a medical receptionist, added: “It’s a real family business and we all have our roles, but it’s also nice we have been able to keep on the two members of staff who previously worked here.

“I’d love for the business to really take off and to be able to offer more jobs to people.”

Riley’s also offers outside catering and a delivery service for orders over £10.

They also accept healthstart vouchers.

The fruit and veg side of the business is open Mondays to Saturdays, from 8am until 6pm, and Sundays, 10.30am until 2.30pm.

The cafe is open Mondays to Saturdays from 9am until 4pm.

Call Riley’s on 0191 447 7500.