A former Wildings employee who was made redundant when the department store closed at the end of last year is bouncing back by opening a shop of her own in the city.

Lesley Skiffington, who is Newport born and bred, worked in the cookware department of Wildings for 16 years, latterly as department manager.

Her new shop, which is based in the Victorian Newport Arcade in the city centre, is called Heart of the Home and will be selling cookware and gifts.

It opens for business at 10am today (Friday), although she's already had at least one customer - her former boss at Wildings who popped in to buy some cookware.

Lesley, who has worked in retail in the city since she left school, has always dreamed of opening a shop of her own.

She said: "Before Wildings, I worked for many years at Woolworths. Now, having been made redundant, I thought this was my opportunity to fulfil my dream of opening my own cookware and gift shop. I would like to thank Peter James, of Wildings, for all his support.

"We look forward to welcoming all our customers and I feel very proud to have taken a part of Wildings with me.

"As I am from Newport, I wanted to stay local and support my city. Looking around for a property I came across an empty unit in Newport Arcade and decided that it was a lovely place to start my new venture.

"At present it will be myself and my husband working here. My daughter Laura is helping with the social media and marketing. We have received lots of help and support from friends and family as well - so would like to say a huge thank you to everyone!"

Newport Arcade has recently seen a bit of a resurgence with a number of independent businesses choosing to set up there.

New businesses include Underhive Games, Tibetan Dawn and Black Cherry tattoo studios.

* See tomorrow's Argus (pages 16 and 17) for a look at all the businesses based at the popular arcade.