WHEN floods hit Jedburgh in January last year, one local business took a serious hit.

“It was devastating,” said Geoff Banks, recalling the day that the rising waters inundated Border Meringue’s production unit and café in the town’s Edinburgh Road.

The specialist food firm, founded by Geoff’s wife Sharon in 2005, incurred around £12,000 worth of damage with the kitchen area of the 6,000 square foot premises bearing the brunt.

Yet, 18 months on, Border Meringues is flourishing and is set to create new, much-needed local jobs.

“The flood proved to be a catalyst,” reflected Geoff. “We replaced our flooring and moved the kitchen which left a lot of empty space, giving us the potential to expand our coffee shop with another 18 covers and create a family area.

“We knew a deal with a food distributor was coming to a natural end and we needed to find a way to replace those earnings.

“Expanding the coffee shop seemed the obvious thing to do – and we’ve never looked back. Footfall is up and turnover is projected to significantly increase.

“The flood forced us to re-assess the business and in turn make the coffee shop a real asset to the business and the local community.”

The café renovation has allowed the firm to take on two new employees and three more job opportunities are set to be created with new plans to extend opening hours into the evening.

Geoff acknowledges that in the immediate aftermath of the flood the assistance of Business Gateway Scottish Borders proved invaluable.

“Our Business Gateway adviser visited us the day after the flood to see what assistance we required.

“As a result of this quick intervention, we were able to secure a loan repayment ‘holiday’, giving us time to take stock and consider our options.”

Border Meringues currently has a ten-strong workforce and supplies 15 local retailers along with a food distributor in Edinburgh.

To find out how Business Gateway can help your business, call 01835 818315.