A woman who started her own baking business in lockdown offering traybake boxes has opened a new cafe and gift shop in the heart of Inverness.
Nyomi Dixon, who is originally from Evanton and now resides in Inverness, opened the doors of Whisk Away on Baron Taylor Street last week.
The cafe and gift shop offers breakfast, lunch, ice cream and a wide range of hot and cold drinks for takeaway, as well as a range of homemade products by local crafters.
Nyomi originally had a career in retail but says she “always dreamed of opening a cafe.”
It was the perfect transition for the 29-year-old, who baked for friends and loved ones during lockdown.
“Whisk Away began at the start of the year by making traybake boxes that soon grew into afternoon teas and birthday boxes,” the cafe and gift shop owner said.
“I baked for neighbours and family friends in the first lockdown, and then in the second lockdown I progressed to making it a business that has just grown from week to week with some great opportunities.
“I decided in March that it was time to look at making Whisk Away more than just delivering afternoon teas.”
Nyomi was given the opportunity to lease the unit that Whisk Away is currently based in late last year.
She thought it would make a great gift shop or market-like place for lots of different crafters to showcase their work alongside her food and drink offering.
She said: “The space became a gift shop that people could come and have a coffee and cake at, and now it’s a cafe with a gift shop.
“At the minute, we are offering breakfast, lunch, ice cream and a wide range of hot and cold drinks for takeaway only in the cafe. But soon, there will be a sit-in table service with lots of different choices being added.
“Vegan options have been a great success, so we hope to expand that part of the menu more. And I will also continue to make my afternoon teas, with Father’s Day being the next big event approaching.
I decided in March that it was time to look at making Whisk Away more than just delivering afternoon teas.
“All our supplies are locally sourced – from our Skye Coffee Roasters coffee beans and Highland Tea Box (based in Grantown of Spey) tea to our fruit and vegetables from local farmers and butcher meat from Hastie and Dyce.
“As for the gift shop, we have 30 crafters showcasing their amazing handmade gifts and crafts and hope to expand that in time. Items include jewellery, hair accessories, soap bags, paintings, cushions, drink glasses and lots more. It’s had such a great response.”
Speaking of her support base, Nyomi explained that customers, friends and family alike all encouraged her to pursue her dream.
“It’s so surreal and overwhelming but I’ve done it,” she said. “I’ve made my dream a reality and everyone can, they just need to believe.
“I’ve had an amazing support network of family and friends putting in the long hours of renovating a unit that was completely different when we started.
“My mum, Janice, says she is extremely proud of me for making my childhood dream a reality all before I reach 30.
“If it wasn’t for my mum, I don’t think I would have finished painting the unit, never mind open it. She has been a rock throughout this.
“My stepfather Ian has done a lot of the renovation work too, which is amazing. He has even made the tables (that are also available in the gift shop to purchase). They are cracking pieces of work.
“Not only that, but I’ve had a lot of help and encouragement from locals, local businesses and friends.
“I have several customers that I delivered to on a weekly basis who really spurred me on and asked about the developments of the cafe and gift shop.
“It was lovely interacting with all my customers and definitely helped make lockdown a whole lot easier for both the customer and me.
I’ve made my dream a reality and everyone can, they just need to believe.”
“At the minute, the gift shop and cafe is open from 8.30am to 3pm Tuesday to Friday, and 9am to 4pm on Saturday. However, we will be opening seven days a week when we can open for sit-in.
“I can’t wait to welcome everyone in for a good old catch up over some cake and coffee.”