A GO-AHEAD Stonehaven woman is set to become one of the youngest entrepreneurs in the area by following in her family's footsteps.
At just 22-years-old Nikki Howarth is set to open and run her own business - a coffee shop and bistro in a prime corner spot at the town's Market Square.
Nikki got the idea from her parents Mick and Sheila Howarth owners of the Belvedere Hotel in Evan Street who praised their young daughter's spirit of adventure in starting a new enterprise at a time when banks and other businesses are shutting down in the town.
The former Mackie Academy pupil and psychology graduate from Abertay University is to open her new venture next week but realises she faces a huge learning curve.
The coffee shop, to be called "Nikki's", is in the former Maggie May's premises at the corner of Barclay Street and Margaret Street which shut down in December.
Nikki will be joined by chef Paul Johnston who she "pinched" from her parents' hotel to help prepare everything from sandwiches to stovies and many gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options.
Nikki, who gained her first catering experience helping out at the Belvedere, said: "I’m really excited. Having worked at my parents' hotel I feel that I’ve got a good relationship with a lot of people in the community, who’ve been very encouraging. I’ve also gained a good understanding of what’s required to run a commercial kitchen and how essential good customer service is ."
Her mum Sheila, who recently spearheaded the successful campaign against massive commercial rates rises that threatened the future of hotels and pubs in the area, said: "Mick and I were concerned about the possibility of cutting staff hours and potentially jobs in the future, so to avoid this, we looked at the possibility of taking over another business to redeploy some of the staff. So when Nikki said that she’d like to take over and run the cafe on her own, we thought it was a great idea."
And she joked: "The down side obviously is that I’m now two excellent staff members down at the hotel."