STAFF and customers at a North Yorkshire coffee shop had a surprise when one of the country’s leading retail gurus popped by on her way to a local book festival.

Mary Portas, star of the BBC’s Mary Queen of Shops, made a flying visit to Greensmith and Thackeray in St Nicholas Street, Scarborough, before her sell-out appearance at this year’s Book’s By The Beach festival.

Portas, who runs a leading retail consultancy advising top high street and luxury brands, called in to the newly opened Scarborough coffee shop after hearing good things about it from festival organisers.

Owners Josh Kermode and Jack Siddons told her about their vision for a stylish shop specialising in high end coffee, tea, cakes and lunches.

Jack said: “We were given quite a shock when Mary walked through the door. It’s not every day that somebody as high profile and with that kind of knowledge and expertise comes in to talk to us. She gave us some really useful advice; she was so friendly and genuinely impressed with how the business was doing.

Portas later tweeted to her quarter of a million followers that she had visited a “brilliant coffee shop in Scarborough”, and linked through to the coffee shop’s Twitter page.