A teenage greengrocer has called on the help of her family to help her new business flourish.
Katie Shuttlewood, 19, of Hillary Avenue, Gravesend, opened her grocers Happy Pear, in the Saint Georges Shopping Centre, last month.
Happy Pear is very much the teenager’s business but she admits, without her family pitching in, it would never have got off the ground.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of my family. It just would not have been possible for me. We’ve all pulled together. They’ve been great.”
The whole family plays a role in ensuring Happy Pear remains a fruitful business.
Katie’s mum Sharon, 46, works as the shop manager five days a week; her dad Ash, 44, is transport manager and even her 11-year-old sister Lucy is in on the act, handing out flyers and designing the shop’s logo.
After leaving school at 16 the young businesswoman worked in a supermarket stacking shelves, before taking steps towards realising her childhood dream of owning her own shop.
She said: “I’ve always had people say to me you’re not really going to get anywhere even at school, but I tried my hardest at school and I ended up getting four A* GCSEs in engineering.
“A lot of people told me I was not going to make it and it was hard but I got where I wanted to be in the end.”
Finding financial support proved the next obstacle for the youngster, but after a series of knock-backs from banks, she finally secured the £25,000 business loan she needed.
The teenage entrepreneur has lived in Gravesend all her life and has a passion for selling local produce in her shop.
The former Northfleet School for girls student, added: “I like the whole feeling of getting my produce from a farm, we all live in Gravesend and we need to support each other, because if we don’t who will?”
The future is looking bright for Katie and with high hopes for her Gravesend store, she plans to branch out with Happy Pear shops in Dartford and Maidstone.
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