Sunday, 26 September 2021

Couple stay on and turn gallery into grocery

AN art gallery is to close and a delicatessen open in its place.

AN art gallery is to close and a delicatessen open in its place.

Sarah Whittaker will shut Art at Goring on September 26 because she wants to focus on her online business.

She has sold her lease to Caroline and Stuart Pierrepont, who previously ran Pierreponts Café in the village and the former White Lion pub in Crays Pond.

The couple will be launching the Goring Grocer at the High Street premises next month.

Mrs Whittaker, who opened the gallery almost four years ago, said: “I have gained a huge sense of satisfaction, achievement and success during my time as owner of the gallery.

“The gallery hasn’t failed, it has done the opposite — the feedback has all been positive and by closing, it releases me to do more online and work more closely with the artists.

“There will, of course, be a tinge of sadness when the doors finally close but I am extremely happy and proud of the legacy the gallery will leave, of introducing a number of talented artists to the community and beyond.

“In addition I have always valued the high degree of enthusiasm and support from everyone who visited the gallery and know that it has been seen as a warm and welcoming place for the people of the local villages and beyond to browse and in many cases to expand their interest in collecting art and sculpture. I thank them for their  support.”

Mrs Whittaker, who lives in Goring and has two grown-up children, decided to sell her business after a chance conversation with Mr and Mrs Pierrepoint which she says resulted in “a very happy but most unexpected change of direction for both of them”.

She said: “Knowing something of the ideas that Caroline and Stuart have for their new venture I believe they will make a massive contribution to the continuing vitality of the villages and I could not be happier to see them taking over the  property.” The Pierreponts had been expecting to move to Dorset but their house sale fell through at the last minute.

The couple said: “We were also becoming acutely aware of what we were going to leave behind, this wonderfully responsive village and all our friends, so we decided to stay.

“We began to look around for a premises that we could turn into our dream food shop.

“We had shown some interest in an existing deli in Oxfordshire but quite by chance we bumped into Sarah and she mentioned her plans and it all fell into place very quickly.

“We feel very privileged to be planning a new venture in Goring again.”

The delicatessen, which will be open from Monday to Saturday, wil sell cheese, charcuterie, vegetables, grocery items and wholefoods as well as Mr Pierrepont’s home-made ready meals. The couple also hope to sell beer and wine.

The gallery is staging a farewell exhibition from tomorrow (Saturday) until September 26.

It will feature new works by Este Macleod and Bee Thomas as well as artists who have had works exhibited at the gallery previously, including Sarah Pye, Anna Dillon and Penny Rees.

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