A BUSINESSWOMAN is opening a farm shop and convenience store that will help villagers cut down their petrol bills.

Claire Chedzoy is putting the final preparations in place before opening the new venture on the Somerset Levels.

Claire is using mainly local suppliers to stock the shelves at the Levels Country Store at the former willow centre between East Lyng and Burrowbridge.

People in the surrounding area will be able to pop in to buy meat, flowers, fruit and veg, groceries, bread, candles and much more without having to drive into town.

Customers will also be able to order take away coffee and cakes, while there are picnic benches outside.

"It's very exciting," said Claire. "I've transformed the place.

"I'm intentionally sourcing nearly everything from local suppliers.

"The store will be a link for all the villages around here so people won't have to drive so far, particularly with the price of petrol going up."

Claire previously ran Somerset Handbaked, specialising in making cakes for special occasions such as weddings, birthdays and anniversaries.

During the pandemic, she delivered supplies to people in the North Curry area.

"That business went from strength to strength and the Levels Country Store is the next step along," added Claire, who has a background in retail management.

"We've got a soft opening for invited guests on Saturday (July 16), before we open to the public on Monday.

"I'm really excited and looking forward to welcoming the first customers.

"Retail is in my blood. Once things get gong, I'm expecting to take on more staff."

Levels Country Store will open seven days a week, running from 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 12.30pm on Sunday.