Two sisters who started a mobile catering business after being made redundant during the Covid pandemic have opened their first shop in the Outer Hebrides.
Christina Morrison and Samantha MacCormick decided to launch the Croft and Cuan venture in Lochboisdale, South Uist, as demand at their food van for products made with locally-sourced ingredients products soared.
Both had previous experience in the hospitality industry and had long harboured dreams of starting their own business.
They were able to turn their ambition into a reality with assistance from the Business Gateway (BG) organisation, which helped them access £4,500 funding.
Ms Morrison, co-owner of Croft and Cuan, said: “My sister and I boast a wealth of experience in hospitality and always dreamt of starting our own catering business.
“While the pandemic wasn’t the circumstances we imagined, and we didn’t expect to be made redundant, it did give us the push we needed as we didn’t have anything to lose.
“I’m happy to report that it’s been an incredible experience, and Business Gateway has helped us every step of the way as we looked to get off the road and find a permanent spot where we could build our customer base and facilitate further growth.”
After approaching BG for support and advice, they were awarded a grant of £2,500 through the Outer Hebrides Young Entrepreneurs Fund (OHYESS), which is funded by development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
They also received £2,000 from Western Isles Council’s Revolving Loan Fund.
With the money, they were able to buy items including display fridges, a catering oven, a counter, shelving and flooring to kit out their waterside shop.
The pair are looking to increase their offering to include ready meals and a hot food service and to start catering fort large events, such as weddings.
Norman MacLean, of Business Gateway, said: “Our advisers are highly knowledgeable about what funding is out there for businesses, and I would encourage anyone in a similar position to Christina and Samantha to reach out and see what is available.
“By working with our team, Croft and Cuan has been able to build on the demand for their products and set up a permanent space in South Uist.
“I am confident they will only go from strength to strength as they become more established and grow.”