A Hartlepool florist is branching out by opening her own business in the town.
Karen Thompson, 50, has just opened Flower Lounge on Murray Street after working for more than 12 years as a florist in Blackhall.
The mum-of-two, from Hart, officially welcomed customers into her store on Friday with a celebration event attended by the Mayor of Hartlepool, Coun Allan Barclay.
Karen said she was delighted to see her first venture so well supported by the community already.
She said: “There was a really good turnout and it’s lovely to have had so much support.
“It was a big decision to leave a job where I was employed, to then start out on my own.
“When I came across this store, it had already been a florist for more than 40 years. “It closed around Christmas time last year and I have now opened it up as a new florist’s.
“It has been open for trade for around two and a half weeks now and is already thriving. “I think it is down to the business being in the same place where a florist has already been for all those years.
“The locals have made me feel so welcome and my family and friends have been amazing.” The new business had undergone a compete transformation, with exposed brickwork, concrete flooring and new counters, to give it a modern feel.
Karen caters for all occasions and offers a number of tropical bouquets, alongside extras such as cards and balloons, with the aim of making it a one-stop shop.
The shop is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.
Karen, who has 24 years of retail experience, added: “I will be looking to take staff on in the run-up to Christmas if the business continues the way it is.”