TOUGH economic times have seen the fall of national chains such as Woolworths, Comet and JJB Sports, but one Dover business is bucking the trend by expanding.
Tranquility, in Park Place, Ladywell, opened in January 2009, just as recession took hold, but owner Carol Dowle says offering the right services has allowed her to experience a steady stream of customers and set up a second salon in Maidstone.
The mum-of-three, of St Margaret's, had been working as a chiropractor for four years from her home, then in River, but decided to expand and include complementary health and beauty therapy services.
It seems to have been a successful business recipe which, says Carol, has resulted in an increasing turnover and profits that "could be better but, considering the recession, still make ends meet".
The ex-Dover girls' grammar pupil said: "We offer the right service to the right people and have loyal staff and customers.
"I think complementary health and chiropractic service go really well together.
"It means we can refer people from one service to the other and it means we offer more than the average beauty salon."
Carol started her venture with three therapists. She now has 11 – two at the new, smaller Maidstone shop and eight in Dover.
More staff could be taken on if business is brisk at the latest salon.
Carol, who trained as a chiropractor in Abingdon and beauty services at South Kent College, said: "When I started out I was taking a leap of faith. When I agreed to buy the Dover premises the economy was good, but when I was due to sign, the recession was here.
"I decided to do it anyway.
"It was quite scary and it has been more difficult than I imagined, because you have to hold everything and everyone together.
"It is not just about me anymore, I am responsible for other people's lives too."
The former accountant has now moved into retail as well, with jewellery, books and "knick knacks" on sale in the Tranquility reception.
She said: "There was an opportunity to do it, so we have."
To find out about the beauty and chiropractic services offered at Tranquility, go to http://www.tranquility-dover.co.uk or call 01304 203000