IT is a risky time to take on a new business. 

Some might even say starting a new endeavour as we slowly emerge out of a second lockdown is madness.

But local business owners Della Murray and Artur Budenko say it is a leap of faith they are willing to make after taking over the reins of Ramblers Café in Peebles.

The couple, who run a small take-out nestled on Peebles' High Street, have been serving the Peeblesshire community throughout the coronavirus pandemic, even going as far as using a taxi delivery service to provide food for those shielding through the first lockdown.

“When the first down lockdown was announced in March last year, we weren’t sure how things would work out,” Della told this newspaper.

“We had only been open for eight months so we had no option but to do our best to keep the business going.”

The furlough scheme was a saving grace, said Della.

“It definitely was a worrying time but we coasted along,” she says.

“Thankfully, as things opened up, we were able to bring back all our staff and recruit a few more as it got busier. 

“When the second lockdown came, we furloughed again and have now brought them all back, and thankfully, we have had no job losses.”

After surviving the second lockdown, Della said she and Artur were looking to expand as the lease for Ramblers became available.

With so many high-street stalwarts collapsing, we asked Della how she felt about taking on a second business during a very uncertain time.

She replied: “We’re determined to make it work.

“We’ve gone from just the two of us painting and renovating Della’s until 2am back in 2019, to a staff of 23 between the two cafés, so we absolutely feel the responsibility to the guys who work with us.

“It’s not just the two of us anymore.”

There are 10 staff members currently working at the High Street premises, and an additional 13 employees, including staff who worked under the previous management, who will be working at Ramblers.

“They’re a great bunch of guys and we’re looking forward to getting to know all of them,” said Della.

Peeblesshire News: Della Murray, Artur Budenko and staff. Photo supplied by Della MurrayDella Murray, Artur Budenko and staff. Photo supplied by Della Murray

While businesses were still closed there was a flurry of activity in the Old Town premises to prepare for the café’s opening.

“We’ve given it a bit of a facelift – lifted the carpet, put hardwood flooring down and brought back the original chairs,” added Della.

And adorning the cafe walls is the artwork of Lesley Johnson Shedio Art. 

Della said: “A lot of people will know Lesley as she is a chemistry teacher at Peebles High School. 

“We’re very fortunate that she agreed to display her work, it’s worth coming in just to see them.”

However, there’s also art on a plate to satisfy grumbling tummies, as Della explains.

“The menu includes all fresh home-cooked dishes.

“Artur’s famous macaroni cheese is on the menu and some beautiful handmade fishcakes.

“He’s added some lovely summer salads, and we’ve brought the Saturday night flatbreads from Della’s to the Ramblers' lunchtime menu.”

They say behind every man there’s a great woman, but Della would probably argue this was the wrong way round.

She modestly said: “Artur is an incredibly talented man and his food has always had a good reputation in the town so my job is easy.

"I just have to serve it.”