Finding the perfect job and home may seem too good to be true, but for residents living in the north-east’s newest town that dream has become a reality.
Unlike other housing developments where properties are built without local amenities, Chapelton, near Newtonhill in Aberdeenshire, is bucking that trend by creating a place for residents to live, work and play.
As part of long-term efforts to create more than 8,000 permanent jobs in the new community, small businesses are popping up as a result of The Boxes @ Chapelton retail initiative.
Chapelton residents Fiona Joss, 38, and Karyn Werninck, 38, jumped at the opportunity to open their own shop in their local community.
For the neighbours and friends, opening their new homeware and gift shop, The Omnia, fulfills their lifelong ambitions.
“When the opportunity of The Boxes @ Chapelton arose shortly after I graduated from the Interior Designer’s Business School I jumped at the chance,” said Fiona, a graphic designer.
“I’ve always wanted to own an interiors gift shop, and to be able to work in the same town that I live in is just the dream.”
With their children off to school, it was the perfect time for the friends to embark on an exciting new venture.
“I felt like I needed a new challenge and when Fiona was looking for a business partner to complement her design skills and creativity, it seemed like the perfect pairing,” said Karyn, who has a background in accounts.
“We’ve been neighbours and friends for a while and both of our children attended The Croft Nursery in Chapelton.
“With our children off to school now, it’s the ideal time to embark on a new business venture.”
Homes and shops
The women will follow in the footsteps of other small businesses which have opened up in the community including the popular tea and coffee shop Teacake, The Lounge at Chapelton, a beauty and hair salon, as well as a greengrocers and delicatessen.
“We’re learning as we go but have the support from the developers behind Chapelton as well as the other businesses located in The Boxes @ Chapelton who are opening alongside us,” said Fiona.
“We’ve created a WhatsApp group which is buzzing with ideas for all of our shop fronts and how we can work together to make The Boxes @ Chapelton truly thrive.
“It already feels like a community within a community.”
With rent for many retail space rising it can often be difficult for small businesses to get off the ground.
But Karyn says the fact that Chapelton is more affordable means they can attempt to get their start-up off the ground.
“Taking inspiration from other pop-up-style spaces across the UK, the container units are a low-risk investment for us and offer the chance to see if there’s a market for our products and ideas,” said Karyn.
“We plan to take feedback from our customers and will be welcoming suggestions on how we can add to or change up our product offering.”
More homes to come
Led by Elsick Development Company, the first neighbourhood of the town, Cairnhill, is already home to hundreds of residents.
Housebuilders A&J Stephen, AJC Homes, Places for People, Snowdrop and Brio Retirement Living are building the current phase.
For more information about Chapelton, go to the website.