I moved to Salcombe in 2009 with the intention of staying for one season… but like so many other people I was captivated by the Salcombe charm. Not simply because of the summer season when the sun is out and you can enjoy the view, take one of the lovely local walks and explore the beautiful beaches, but what I also really enjoyed was the winter season, when I got to meet all the people who live in the area all year round, the people who make this town what it is. You can snuggle up all cosy in front of the fires in local pubs, The Fortescue Inn, The Victoria Inn, The Kings Arms and The Ferry Inn. You can take time to actually talk to the people around without the packed out streets and shops bursting at the seams. There is no queue at The Winking Prawn, no wait for a table and you can laze the day away staring out into the estuary while there are the few brave dog walkers shaking off the rain as they hang up their coats to hug up to a cuppa. It makes me smile when you drive down into the town and the winter sun glares across the glistening water but lo and behold there are actually parking spaces in the centre of town and everyone you walk past knows you by name and says hello. It’s that sense of community that I really love, the welcoming feeling, I knew this is where I wanted to stay, I knew I wanted to settle here.
I have always worked in catering. Even when I went off to University I still worked full time in a Bar simply because I loved it so much. I became a Bar Supervisor not long after my 18th birthday and I continued to work my way up the ladder as much as possible and have been the Manager of several places in the last ten years, but the desire to own my own place has always been there. A small cafe became available in Salcombe a few years ago and after seeing the price of the property, I became aware my funds would not stretch that far and so my dreams of running my own place in Salcombe quickly became shattered and although I looked further afield, my heart was well and truly set in living here.
When I had my son, Bobby, in February 2015 I discovered that Salcombe has a distinct lack of places for me to take my son, especially when it is raining. I travelled to Totnes quite frequently to a soft play cafe which we both enjoyed and made use of the services provided by the children’s centre in the next town along, Kingsbridge. Frances French, the wife of the Salcombe Vicar runs a great ‘Time Out in the Rafters’ group on Friday afternoons in the Holy Trinity Church and I thought how much all the families with young children would benefit from somewhere locally where these sorts of group activity could occur on a daily basis. If only I could find the space!
I found out shortly after having Bobby that the government funding for the local Children’s Centres had been cut. Although the funding for the actual classes were still available, the building is going to be no longer in use as of April 2016. A very common conversation amongst the parents I know with children pre Pre-school age was ‘where are we going to go now?’
That is when a friend of mine, Chloe Davis, who worked in The Boat Crew, on Island Street in Salcombe revealed to me that the space above the shop, which I had never been in, was available for rent. I was informed that a few years ago it had been an internet cafe but since then it has been left as an empty space. I went to see it.
As I wandered around this empty space, my imagination went into overdrive and here is where I saw such potential for a service; parents, grandparents, guardians, nannies and child minders etc. were crying out for in the area. The kitchen space was there, but nothing was left in it, there were a few tables and chairs dotted about, begging for a revamp and lots of bare walls with so many holes in, you would think people had been having a dart board competition! I did my sums. I got all my savings together, wrote to my grandparents for financial help, spoke to my accountant and I went to the bank. I NEEDED this space.
It was not long after I saw the space that I was set to work, with help from a few friends I designed how I wanted the space to look and set to it! It was certainly a challenge as I did not have infinite funds to pay for workers to help me and as a single mummy, working full time Managing The Winking Prawn at the same time, it’s safe to say every second counted. In just over six weeks the place was transformed from a dusty storage room to what it is now.
We opened The Kidz & Co on 25th March 2016 and with a fantastic team behind me , we hope for a long successful future here in Salcombe.
We are open everyday from 9am to 5pm, so pop in and say hello!