Regulars at the Coffee Pot cafe in Dufftown were stunned last month when the teenage waitress who had been serving them for the past four years announced she was the new owner.
But Chloe Campbell, 19, says her first few weeks in charge of the business have gone as smoothly as she could have hoped and her clientele have happily lent their support.
She took over the cafe from previous owner Lorraine Williams on February 8, less than two years after leaving Speyside High School in Aberlour.
Chloe was still studying there when, aged 15, she first took on a weekend job at the Coffee Pot.
She said: “I was doing in-service days and picked up holiday cover. I left school and didn’t really know what I was planning to do or anything, and just got a full-time job here. It just kind of stemmed from there.”
Two years later, she had started working full-time at the cafe and was discovering a passion for being a barista.
“Me and my boss were just having a conversation about how eventually, one day I’d like to have my own café because I’d just taken a love to it,” she said.
Unexpectedly, Mrs Williams told her she was looking for a change as the stresses of Covid started to wind down, and was planning to sell the cafe after five years as the owner.
Chloe said: “She was like, ‘Oh, you can have this place.’
“I was like, ‘If you’re offering, then I’ll definitely take that offer because I’m not going to get that anywhere else just now at my age.'”
The massive decision to buy the business was informed by Chloe’s parents, childminder Dawn-Marie and farmer Colin, who brought her up with an entrepreneurial attitude.
She said: “They’ve been really, really supportive. I honestly couldn’t have done it without them because you need that support there.
“From a young age, they’ve always said you’ve got to work for what you want, so that’s what I’ve done.
“Money doesn’t grow on trees, so you’ve got to save it and got to spend it wisely.”
Support has also come from her friends in Dufftown, who were “really, really surprised” but “so excited” when she told them, and Mrs Williams herself.
Chloe said: “I’ve been on the phone to her and I’ve been texting her, she’s not abandoned me.
“She’s been very open and she’s helped me a lot, and she’s advised me on how I should do things. If I need a hand she’s always there for me.”