A former investment banker has turned shopkeeper and is refurbishing the derelict antiques auction house in Upper Gardner Street to create a superb local food store and restaurant, Thorne’s Foods, bringing quality local produce into the heart of the city seven days a week.

31 year-old Jason, who lives in Brighton with his wife and baby, has had a passion for local food since he was young and aims to take on supermarkets by making fresh, seasonal local food available to people in Brighton & Hove, with opening hours to suit busy lifestyles

“I have been working on this project for two years now, raising capital from private investors, banks and getting to know our wonderful, award-winning Sussex food and drink producers, so that we can offer the best ingredients in the city,” said Jason.

“I want to offer good value quality food which can’t normally be easily accessed in the city centre and which people can pick up on their way home from work, so that they can eat well and support the local economy. I want to cut out the difficulties, and make it as easy as turning left to Thorne’s or right to the supermarket.”

Thorne’s intends to open from 9:30am to 8:30pm, selling a full range of groceries, including a high quality butcher’s, a deli counter, green groceries, wine and a huge spread of fresh, local ingredients and fine foods made in Sussex and surrounding areas. Suppliers will be chosen locally wherever possible says Jason, in recognition that not everything the modern food shopper desires is made in the county. The food will also be served in a market kitchen upstairs allowing customers to taste what is on offer and in season, whilst helping to manage wastage through the shop.

“I was so delighted to find the old antique auction house because it lends itself beautifully to my aspirations for the design of Thorne’s. It has a huge cobbled entrance way and high, vaulted ceilings, with a great space for the market kitchen, with lots of daylight coming through huge windows with wonderful views over the city’s rooftops,” he continued.

“We are restoring and celebrating the unique old features of the building, whilst installing all mod cons and upgrading facilities. We want to create a vintage, rustic farmer’s market atmosphere and style, but with the convenience of a supermarket for busy people in the city to enjoy.”

Thorne’s will create 20 new jobs in Brighton and this is just the start of Jason Hurwitz’s ambitions, as he hopes to create more local food stores in other cities in the future, bringing local produce to people who don’t normally have the time or means to access them.

Jason is seeking further investors to help meet the increased refurbishment cost in restoring the historic building; anyone interested should contact him at Jason.Hurwitz@ThornesFoods.co.uk.

Thorne’s Foods will open in July and Jason intends to hold a range of community events to involve and encourage local people to buy local.