SHOPPERS can now pick up a loaf of bread at a village pub.

As well as being a favourite destination for villagers, the Hand Inn, in Gwernaffield, is now operating as a village shop and coffee shop.

The initiative was the brainchild of landlord Martin Edwards, 36, and his partner Claire Patrick, 25, who were concerned about the lack of amenities in the village.

Martin, who has been at the pub for four years, said: “There is nothing else in Gwernaffield at the moment. The pub is the only commercial property in the village. Every day I see pensioners standing at the bus stop waiting to get a bus to Mold to buy a loaf of bread.

“We have an old catering kitchen out the back that we have never used, so we thought why don’t we just do something with that. It was never something that we had planned for a long time, the idea just came to us and then we were up and running within a month.”

The shop and coffee shop is open every day from 8.30am and residents can pick up all the basic essentials from bread and eggs to a pint of milk.

The venture was launched last week and is already proving a hit with villagers.

Martin added: “We have had an excellent response and have been really busy. Everyone has said to me what a good idea it is and it was about time someone did something like this in the village.”

And in an age when pubs are closing at an alarming rate, Martin believes it is up to landlords to diversify the service they offer.

“I think pubs need to do things like this now,” he added.

“I have had people coming in who I have never seen before and who I didn’t even know lived in the village and I’ve been here four years. It’s nice to get people through the door who would never normally come in.”

At the moment Martin and Claire are running the shop, but say if business continues to boom they will happily take on more staff from the community.

Martin added: “The response has been positive so far so hopefully it will really take off.”