AN EMPTY shop in Bishop Auckland has been brought back into use as a grooming parlour.

Paws Pride and Groom is one of two businesses in the town to have recently benefitted from Durham County Council’s Targeted Business Improvement (TBI) scheme.

Business owner Paula Campbell was awarded cash to carry out a full internal refit of the premises in Fore Bondgate. She has also erected new signage and plans to take on an apprentice.

She said: "For many years I had aspirations to own and manage my own dog grooming business and the TBI most definitely supported me in achieving this. The fund has enabled me to create a quirky and professional environment with many customers commenting on how welcoming my salon is.

"The council has been extremely helpful in guiding me through the application process from beginning to end. I'm very proud of Paws Pride and Groom and look forward to building further on the success of our first six months."

Neighbouring business Gregg Bros also received support through the TBI initiative.

The front of the takeaway has been completely revamped, with improvements including new signage and windows.

Cllr Carl Marshall, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration, said: "Supporting small businesses is extremely important for sustaining and improving the vitality and viability of our town centres.

"During the past year, we have helped eight businesses in Bishop Auckland and we are currently working with two others.

"However, we are still open to further requests for support so I would encourage people to get in touch if they think that their business could also benefit."

The TBI is open to businesses operating in a number of locations across County Durham. For details contact the economic development team on 03000 261 951, email or visit