Scotland’s only commercial-scale woolskin tannery has unveiled plans to invest more than £100,000 in a new packing and dispatch area.
Skyeskyns Ltd, which is based in Waternish in the north-west area of the Isle of Skye, said the investment will help secure 18 jobs and increase the company’s turnover by around a third.
The firm, which is one of only two commercial woolskin tanneries in the UK, has completed steelwork for a new building which should be fully operational by late April.
The building is expected to cost more than £100,000 to construct and it will be part-funded with a £33,360 contribution from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
Skyeskyns general manager, Dave Till, said: “We will be incorporating a dedicated goods inward facility, increased storage capacity and a packing and dispatch area. This will accommodate increasing business from the showroom and online orders without impacting production flow in the tannery.
“Once these operations have moved into the new building, the tannery can expand into the space left behind and this should improve overall capacity and the visitor experience too.”
The family-run company, which was established in 1983, also incorporates a five-star tourist attraction which draws in more than 17,000 visitors a year.
The company produces sheepskin products from rare breeds for high end, niche markets.
HIE development manager for Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, Raine MacLennan, said: “Skyeskyns has an excellent reputation for quality and customer service. Addressing production bottlenecks will help it improve efficiency, increase sales and grow its international presence.
“The company is a significant local employer in Waternish. Working with other businesses in the Visit Waternish marketing group helps to attract thousands of visitors off the main road each year into one of the most fragile and remote parts of the Highlands and Islands. Skyeskyns is therefore an economic catalyst that effectively disperses tourist traffic to other local businesses and communities in northern Skye.”