An old barn just off the High Street in Crickhowell has been transformed into a delightful ice-cream parlour thanks to support from the Welsh Government’s Business Wales service.
The ice-cream parlour-come-café, Pavlova Coffee Shop, was launched by local Crickhowell optician, Irena Kovaleva, last year. Having received Business Wales’ support to open Crickhowell Optometrists five years earlier, Irena didn’t hesitate to contact Business Wales again when she saw the unused barn behind the opticians and fancied a new challenge.
“Crickhowell is a vibrant town with a high street full of independent shops and cafes, the only thing it lacked was an ice cream parlour which the town historically had at the beginning of the century.
“The barn had previously been used as a store room for James Isaac, the local groceries, but had been standing empty for many years. Once I decided to utilise the premises for another business, I sought help and advice from my Business Wales adviser, Jill Gorin, who had previously shared her expertise and knowledge to help me to establish the opticians.
“I contacted Jill at the planning stage to ask her advice and from then on she was involved at every stage and assisted with every detail, from the name and branding, floor plans, coffee and ice-cream supplies, and even sourcing of all the internal fixtures and fittings. Later came a wealth of information regarding employment laws, VAT, health and safety, advertising; it was a never ending list!
“The best part, as Jill is a coffee connoisseur, was the tasting of coffee and ice cream – all of which are sourced locally within a ten mile radius. Many cups were drunk and ice-cream flavours tasted before we eventually hit on the right menu.”
Since opening last summer to coincide with the beginning of the tourist season, Pavlova Coffee Shop has grown to create a number of full-time and part-time positions.
“My proudest moment was the opening day with the Mayor, friends and family joining me for ice cream and coffee. It was a pleasure to show off the restored barn with its new use and know that it was again making a contribution to the life of the town.”
With people coming from far and wide to sample the delights provided by Pavlova, Irena is already thinking about expanding the thriving ice-cream business.
Pavlova’s top 5 tips for anyone else starting up their own business would be:
- Research the business or know it well
- Do your maths as the numbers need to add up
- Make sure you know where to turn for advice
- Surround yourself with people you trust
- Have the courage of your convictions
Business Wales, which is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government, supports the sustainable growth of small and medium size enterprises across the country by offering access to information, guidance and business support.