Mum rises to the top with village business

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A former horticulturist who took over the running of Kilmelford village shop four years ago is now offering post office services to surrounding areas.

After working in the horticultural industry for 13 years and being a full-time mum to her five children, Sarah-Jane Edwards sought a new challenge.

So, when her local shop and post office was in need of rejuvenating, she jumped at the chance to build it up again.

Sarah-Jane, who received support from Business Gateway Argyll and Bute, also opened a café above the shop and, as the sole rural post office in the area, will now offer postal services to nearby villages.

She said: ‘The main inspiration for the business was the fact I wanted to try something new and be my own boss. Our local shop and post office almost died, which would have been dreadful for the village, so I felt it not only gave me the challenge I wanted, but allowed me to retain an important
element of the community.

‘I wanted to ensure locals and tourists got use of the shop and by opening the café in 2016, we were able to attract even more visitors.

‘In 2017, I decided to visit Business Gateway to see if there was any support available and they’ve been amazing. My adviser has been very supportive and has given me ideas for the future as well as building my confidence.’

The village shop and Room at the Top coffee shop provide groceries, as well a range of local produce, homemade cakes and pies.

Sarah-Jane added: ‘The response to our cakes and pies has been really positive so my plans for the future will focus on the food side of the business. My aim is to get our food as well established as our shop and post office and continue to offer a quality service to both visitors and villagers.’

To find out more about how Business Gateway can help you, call 01546 808363 or visit www.bgateway.com/argyll-and-bute