AS the new community of Cranbrook grows, an increasing number of fledgling businesses are already springing up to serve the needs of residents.
While many are eagerly awaiting the opening of the town's first retail outlet, a variety of enterprising individuals are working from home providing services ranging from mobile hairdressing and beauty treatments to taxis, cake making and exercise classes.
Susannah Patrick recently founded Cranbrook Pet Care after moving to the new community with her partner and their children in June.
She said running a pet-sitting and dog walking business was proving to be a great way to meet her neighbours in the new town.
"I have a dog, cat, kittens and rabbits myself and one of the reasons we moved here is the gardens are bigger than in Exeter," said Susannah, 39.
"The first time we wanted to go away somewhere I contacted my regular pet sitter in Exeter, who was brilliant, but for them to come out to Cranbrook would have been expensive. So I decided to set up a pet-sitting business.
"It is purely local, which gives me a chance to work from home and have no travel costs – and zero fuel emissions."
Another benefit is that Susannah can combine her new business with her freelance marketing work for hairdressing salons.
Having only been operating for a month, she already has about six regular clients, with more enquiries coming in from pet owners new to Cranbrook via word of mouth and Facebook.
"A lot of people move out to Cranbrook and buy puppies or cats because it's that sort of family area and just about everybody has a garden," she said.
"When you move to a new place it takes quite a long time before you can ask your neighbours to look after your pets when you go on holiday, so I saw a good opportunity here.
"The main advantage from a business point of view is that Cranbrook is going to be a town, so anything you do now becomes a growth business automatically."
Susannah described Cranbrook as "a really nice place to live", adding that she was eagerly awaiting the opening of the train station and the town's first shop.
A planning application has been submitted for a small neighbourhood supermarket and five small retail units and is currently being considered by East Devon District Council.
Another resident hoping to capitalise on the town's growth is Avon sales leader Jo Sainsbury. The 28-year-old moved to Cranbrook with her partner Adam Bath just before Christmas last year, having previously lived in Dawlish and Uffculme respectively.
"I'm absolutely loving it," she said.
"The community is coming together really well. I've never lived in a place where everybody likes to help each other so much."
Jo was looking for a new career after an injury forced her to give up her previous job with a car parts business.
"I had done Avon before but it wasn't that successful with the streets I had," she said.
Deciding to give it another try in a different area, she applied to the catalogue retailer and became its new sales leader for Cranbrook, tasked with building a team to cover the new town as it grows. She already has two sales reps working under her. Each rep is allocated 150 houses, so Jo expects to add to her team as more homes are built.
"For me it's becoming a business," she said. "I want to build it up."
Other services provided by people based in Cranbrook include photography, house cleaning, massage therapy, face painting, wedding invitations and even magic shows, balloon modelling, event hosting and comedy.
Adult education tutor Josefina Gori plans to run Spanish classes when she moves to the new community from Ottery St Mary.
She said: "I have many students coming to my classes and workshops in Ottery from Exeter so thought that this could be a good new venture. In the field of adult education I see a lot of potential at Cranbrook, mainly because it is a new community which sooner or later will be looking to have at their doorstep all those things they left behind when they moved out of the city.
"The sense of achievement gained by learning a new skill like a foreign language helps a lot when building up a new community. Cranbrook is going to have the Younghayes Centre open sometime in the future and it will become the heart of the town. It will be the ideal place to have classes.
"The downfall of adult education in many places in East Devon was having the classes in school classrooms. They were uncomfortable and reminded the students of a time of their life they wanted to forget.
"I am sure if we could offer classes at a reasonable price at Cranbrook in a nice brand new building and with easy access and great parking facilities we will have a lot of people from Exeter joining the people of Cranbrook."
Cake maker Caroline Fowles has already received two commissions via the community's Facebook page since moving to Cranbrook recently.
"I'd love to be able to expand the business," she said.
Meanwhile, Tom Howe is offering free outdoor exercise classes ahead of his planned move to the new community later this year.
"With buying a new house and effectively starting a new life I have set up my own business, Adventurecise UK, offering personal training, fitness classes, team building and adventurous activities such as kayaking and mountain biking," he said. "At present I am running some taster sessions to see if there is enough local support to sustain regular outdoor fitness classes.
"When Cranbrook becomes further developed I would like to run regular classes there."