Former midwife, Davina Mortimer, took the helm of her business, Beecham Weigh, two years ago – just as the UK faced its first lockdown of the pandemic.

The business, originally owned by Davina’s parents, began in 1980 and over four decades, has changed hands twice before returning to her family in March 2020.

The business they call ‘the shop on the corner’ is in Malton’s Yorkersgate, where it currently employs five staff.

Davina’s inspiration behind taking on the business is her dad, who loves Malton and what it has to offer.

She said: “My Dad has such a passion for Malton, for building connections and relationships within our community and for nurturing independent business. Malton has always had a wealth of independents, but they struggled once the supermarkets entered town.”

Davina remembers a flourishing Malton high street from a young age, where residents would buy locally from greengrocers and butchers who would source their stock from local farmers and markets.

“Over the last 30 years, our community relies less and less on our local independents.We lost our heartbeat. However, in recent years, perhaps even pandemic-induced, we have seen some of that ‘old fashioned’ way of shopping return and we love being part of it.”

Unusually, Davina has only known business through the pandemic where she received a lot of support from the local community.

“Some points were hair-raising,” she said.

“We found that local customers made a more conscious effort to support independent shops. We have had a drop in sales since February this year, which has surprised us.”

Despite a difficult start to the year, Davina believes the knowledge she and her team has is key to their success.

“Our customers trust us and value using natural research-based alternatives, organic foods and supplements to support their health.”

Beecham Weigh has recently become more environmentally-friendly, by stocking vegan and free-from items on their shelves and upcycling and recycling as much as possible.

Going forward, Davina plans to work alongside the local community.

“After Easter, we are working with local schools and businesses to educate them on the value and importance of refilling. We are also looking forward to starting educational natural health evenings.”

Davina says it can be “incredibly hard work” owning a business – but what’s her favourite thing about it?

“It’s the customers – I love connection, I love their encouragement and passion for our shop. I love that we have the opportunity to make a tangible difference to their health – often life-changing. I love that we are part of a wider network of independent businesses who support and encourage each other.”