While many businesses are shutting up shop and leaving the high street for the promised land of the world wide web, one women is seeking success in the opposite direction.

Former model Hayley Hunt ran website Hunt Property Services from home for four years until last week, but has now decided to open a branch in order to provide a space to meet clients and develop her reputation for a personal touch.

The new branch has opened in Chigwell Road, Woodford Bridge, and Ms Hunt hopes to keep expanding within the community.  

She said: "I have done a complete role reversal with the guy who used to have the property.

"He has taken his business off the high street and gone online, whereas I am opening my first shop.

"While the new premises will give us scope to grow, it will not detract from the very personal service for which the company is renowned.

"We needed the office to continue expanding the business. It gives our clients somewhere to come and see the properties we have on offer, as well as space to do business, rather than in our client’s own homes.

"It is rather plush and a luxury for us to have an office.

"I feel very proud that I am able to open something in the community and hopefully as the company expands we will open more shops."

The office is on the doorstep of Repton Park, where Ms Hunt lives and does most of her business.

She started the business out of frustration when a letting agent told her she couldn’t rent her property out for the price she wanted.

She added: "I began helping my neighbours with their properties, popping into their homes for cups of tea and the business has snowballed from there."