Convenience store chain Greens is continuing its expansion across the north-east, with branches poised to open in Fraserburgh and Banchory.
Director Harris Aslam has confirmed the company will also takeover a shop and rebrand it to Greens in another unnamed Aberdeenshire location.
The business is due to launch at the current Co-op store on Buchan Road, Fraserburgh, on June 28, with the Banchory branch opening in either July or August.
Steady north-east expansion
Greens first moved into the north-east, taking over the former Costcutter store in Ellon, in 2019.
Since then it has also taken over and rebranded shops in both Peterhead and Inverurie.
Greens has become a firm favourite for Ellon residents, stocking cakes from Fife-based Fisher & Donaldson bakery and also thanks to its butchery counter, headed up by Barry Bartlet.
Rowies or butteries?
Mr Aslam admitted he’s found some differences between the Fife and Aberdeenshire language, especially when it comes to one local delicacy.
He said: “Down here we have one kind of morning roll, which is a Fisher & Donaldson one.
“But in the north-east I hear about butteries, rowies and veggie rowies and so on.
“A roll is something completely different to what we call it.”
The company behind the brand, Eros Retail, was started by the Aslam family in 1982, with the flagship Greens store opening in Fife in 2016.
Speaking about the first venture into the north-east, Mr Aslam said: “We are going from strength to strength.
“In 2019 Costcutter became available and it was a store we had previously looked at.
“We saw a huge opportunity. We knew we had a fantastic store in Ellon, with great heritage and history, and a great team of people, very involved in the local community.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for us to do something with – and that’s exactly what we did.”
Nearly 100 people are currently employed across the three north-east stores, with further roles due to be introduced at the new sites.
Mr Aslam said: “I can reveal we are opening in Fraserburgh on June 28 and Banchory in July or August.
“There’s also one other location, with more in the pipeline in the future.”
When asked what makes the north-east a good area for Greens, Mr Aslam said: “It’s the people.”
On the ongoing cost of living crisis facing both consumers and businesses, Mr Aslam said: “It’s tough, there’s no question about it.
“I’ve been doing this for eight years and, frankly, we’ve never seen anything like it.
“The Beast from the East hit back in 2018 and it was a huge call to action.
“Our local suppliers and teams went above and beyond. Then, of course, a couple of years down the line the pandemic hit.
“To say it’s been a crazy couple of years is a huge understatement.
“Obviously, that goes without saying for everybody – not just our business.
“We are at a point where the cost of electricity is at an all-time high and gas prices are increasing.
“The national living wage is, obviously, very important to us. We want to reward our colleagues the best we can as a business and, inevitably with inflationary pressures, we need to ramp up what we pay our colleagues faster.
“All of this has its toll. In a nutshell, we see any challenges for the business as opportunities.
“It’s not easy but we just want to come together and do what we do best.”