Businesswoman and start up loan recipient Tracy Parnaby has weathered the storms of difficult trading conditions and taken her tearoom towards a brand new future.

Tracy back in 2014, with Transmit's Ian and Brenda

When the Cake House opened in early 2014, the tearoom was the owner Tracy’s first step into full-time self-employment.

Formerly a manager with Durham County Council, Tracy had started making cakes as a hobby. She took advantage of the opportunity to be made redundant from the Council, then took the plunge and launched her dream tearoom.

Tracy was given a loan from Transmit Start-Ups without which she admits she could not have opened her tearoom. The loan helped to fund her fixture and fittings such as the refrigeration and cookers needed to operate.

She said: “From the minute I stepped through the door of the shop I could see exactly how I wanted it to look and I now have my very own vintage-themed tearoom. It is perfect and even though I have only been open such as short time it already has regular customers.”

Five years later, now called Caffe No 3, the café has a well established line of vegan dishes, after Tracy’s own veganism caused her to notice a gap in the market for local eateries catering towards the plant-based diet.

The Northern Echo says Tracy is hoping to take meat off the menu entirely later this year, as she extends her opening hours in spring to meet the demand – and demonstrates that staying in touch with the market, diversifying and making sure you know your customers is the key to being successful year upon year.