Spirit of independence alive and well at ‘Castle’

Sarah Thompson and Nikki Hill who have opened their businesses in the Courtyard at Brownlow House. INLM32-109gc
Sarah Thompson and Nikki Hill who have opened their businesses in the Courtyard at Brownlow House. INLM32-109gc
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The spirit of independence is alive and well in The Courtyard at Brownlow House.

Having been extensively redeveloped by Friends of Brownlow House, The Courtyard now plays host to some bright, independent new businesses.

The ‘MAIL’ spoke with three of the entrepreneurs to find out how they got started and how they’re finding their new premises in their majestic surroundings.

Sarah Thompson (29) and Nikki Hill (28) are two of the most recent additions to The Courtyard.

In the corner unit Sarah runs Candy Floss, while next door to her Nikki looks after Flawless.

Sarah, who specialises in unique outfits and handcrafted headwear, said: “I was working from home and was so busy I decided I needed a shop to separate home from work.

“It’s like a fairy tale coming to work here,” she added. “I can’t wait until Christmas. The place is going to look so amazing.”

Nikki, who restores and modernises old furniture, said: “I started from home as well. Sarah and I looked at a couple of units in the town centre before seeing The Courtyard. This is just perfect and suits the ethos of both our businesses.

“I had my own beauty salon when I was 19 but this particular business started when I was at home just after my daughter was born.

“When Sophie (now five) was a baby I started painting old furniture in my spare time and it just grew from that. Sophie’s now at an age where she can help me.”

Co-owner of Sports Training Academy Scott McMillan said: “The business started off as training academy in just one room two years ago. Things have grown from there and we opened the gym here as of December last year.”

Of The Courtyard he said: “The location is fantastic for a business like this. There’s been a gym at Brownlow House before, so we’re building on tradition whilst bringing in modern equipment.

“We’ve been able to make use of the old out-buildings to open three studios.

“We offer free qualifications in Fitness and Sports Coaching for anyone unemployed and eligible for Steps To Work. The next group start on August 27 and anyone interested should get in touch.”