A popular Deeside café badly hit by flooding has marked a milestone on its road to reopening, with work starting on the refit of its interior and owners setting their sights on being up and running again in June.
Joiners have moved in and started work inside Rock Salt and Snails in Ballater and Neil and Davinia Massie are now firmly focused on the business being fully operational in time for the busy summer tourist season.
Since opening in Ballater in March 2012, Rock Salt and Snails has grown to be a popular stop-off point for both locals and visitors alike and is renowned for its delicious home baking, friendly staff and great customer service.
The Massies received messages of support from customers all over the world as well as closer to home, after the coffee shop was forced to close due to damage caused by the floods in December last year.
Davinia told the Piper: “The community support and feedback has been very good, and a great source of inspiration.
“Some days when I was feeling down earlier in the year the messages that came through from customers made me have the strength to see that there was a future and to go on.
“We have moved on and we feel more positive thanks to the terrific support all along the way from our customers.
“Around us there are signs that businesses in Ballater are getting back on their feet, shops are opening again.
“I think we all feel so much better each time another shop reopens.
“The business association has also been incredibly pro-active and is doing a superb job.”
While there is no specific reopening date in mind, Davinia expects that the Bridge Street coffee shop will be on track to welcome the return of customers through its doors in June.
“It’s something very positive for us to focus on, and we really feel that our reopening day is on its way now,” she added.
Commenting on the news, Richard Watts of Ballater Business Association said: “All around us, we are seeing positive signs of progress, and here’s another one.
“We’re delighted that work has commenced on refurbishing the interior of Rock Salt and Snails and that the business is set to be up and running in time for the summer tourist season.
“It’s another indication of just how hard people have worked and how far the village has progressed in only a matter of months,” he added.