MICHELLE Roundhill had opened a new shop and was looking forward to a fresh start after a difficult few years when her world turned upside-down.

In December 2020 a car crashed into her shop, A Piece of The Past, at Bolton Junction. "It was the day before New Year's Eve. I'd only been there six months and felt I'd turned a corner. Then I got a 'phonecall just after midnight saying a car had gone through the shop window and was on fire," recalls Michelle. "We'd moved from our old shop because it wasn't working, we took on this new venture and were starting to turn things around - then it was all taken away in a split second. The damage was so extensive, I didn't have a clue if we could carry on."

A year on, Michelle has re-opened her shop, which sells bath bombs, home scents, aromatherapy oils, candles, incense and giftware, and has a growing number of loyal customers. "People say it's great to have a shop like this in the area. We're all small businesses round here and we look out for each other. I've had so much support. After the crash the man who bought our old shop came in and offered us the use of it rent-free until we were back on our feet.. What a lovely gesture - I could have cried. It's a great community here, we're very much part of it.

"This building used to be a funeral directors and some people come in because they remember loved ones, it brings them comfort. We have a chat and I make them a cuppa."

Michelle and her partner, Marc Le Grand, ran a vintage retro shop in Eccleshill for three years. "We met on the vintage scene but it's a niche market and the shop just didn't work there. So we opened this place, but kept the name as it means a lot to us," says Michelle.

"After the crash the shop closed for six months while it was re-built, so I missed out on Valentine's Day and Mother's Day - what would've been busy times. After moving here I was finally making some money again, then I had to close. But since re-opening, our customers have been a tower of strength. I've launched online shopping events too; over Christmas Marc and I were busy door-stepping deliveries. I listen to customer feedback; vegan friendly products are popular, and TV show-themed bath bombs. I do a lot of research and use local suppliers. Now I'm planning for Valentine's, with soap flowers in bouquets and boxes. I keep prices low, and people like the personal touch that you get with independent shops. Businesses like this are important to local communities."

* A Piece of the Past, Bolton Road, Bradford.