A woman who lost her job because of the pandemic and bounced back to launch a new business in Bedale told her inspirational story to Rishi.
Katie Ballantyne was made redundant from her role in the hospitality industry earlier this year but has seized the opportunity to create her own high-quality chocolate business in the town where she lives.
Ballantyne Chocolates and Confectionery, owned and run by Katie and her husband Derek, opened at 24 Market Place just after trading restrictions were eased at the beginning of December.
One of their first customers was Rishi.
He called in during a shopping visit to Bedale Market Place to mark Small Business Saturday – the annual campaign which celebrates small business success and encourages people to shop local.
Mrs Ballantyne told Rishi that it had been a real shock to lose her job but it had been the spur for her and her husband to launch their own business.
She said: “It was difficult because I had worked at the hospitality business for a long time but it was also an opportunity and this shop unit right in the centre of our town was available so we seized the chance.
“We’ve only been open a week but the response from local people has been quite amazing and we are very gratefull for the support we have had so far.”
Rishi said the Ballantyne’s story was “totally inspiring” and that Ballantyne’s was a great addition to Bedale town centre.
He added: “Katie and Derek have created a business from scratch in the midst of a pandemic which is absolutely amazing and it is reassuring to hear that the local community have been keen to support them.
“That’s what we all need to do, to get out there, to support our local High Streets, to support jobs and businesses like Ballantynes.”
Ballantynes stocks a range of high quality chocolates, confectionery and gifts. While some of their stock is sourced from Belgium, local chocolate products are also featured including Inspired Chocolates of Leyburn and Cacao of Richmond. The Sawley Kitchen, near Ripon, provides meringues.
The shop at 24 Market Place has an interesting family link for Mrs Ballantyne. It used to be Palphramand’s Electrical Shop, a business her late father Ken Ward worked for and later in life owned.