Inspired by her great grandfather’s business dating back to the 1950s, Emily Hailstones and her partner, Hayley Fisher, plan to repeat history with a nod to a family gem.
A young couple who will bring a new delicatessen to Aberdeen later this year will launch their business online tomorrow.
Born out of the pandemic and a string of redundancies, Emily and Hayley decided to bite the bullet and bring their dream of owning their own business to life.
Olive Alexanders, named after Emily’s late great grandmother Olive Hooper and her grandfather Alexander Hailstones, will offer up a range of Scottish cheeses, wines, cooked and cured meats and much more.
Back in the 1950s Emily’s great grandfather, Gordon Farquhar, owned the greengrocer and florist Farquhar and Son’s on St Swithin Street.
And Emily, 25, and Hayley, 30, plan on bringing their own business to the high street too, with a bricks and mortar store planned for later in the year.
It’s all in the name…
Emily said: “The name comes from names of my family members. Olive Hooper was my great grandmother and Alexander Hailstones was my grandfather. We put their names together and it had such a nice ring to it. With it being a traditional delicatessen, we’re really rooted in family and that’s the sort of thing we wanted to project – that warm feeling of your nan’s dinner table.
“My great grandfather owned the greengrocer and florist, Farquhar and Son’s on St Swithin Street. He had polytunnels out the back and there was a florist in it. My grandma worked there and my great aunt, and my mum used to play outside there.
“With all of these supermarkets and huge conglomerates it is nice to bring it back to how it used to be, I think that is the perfect example of what local independents should be and that’s what we want to bring back.
Hayley added: “My Aberdeen family were all potato farmers for generations. They would sell their goods down at The Green so we’ve got quite a lot of family history based around food.”
Living in Aberdeen since moving back from Edinburgh in September 2020, the duo have been working on Olive Alexanders and are now ready to open their business to the masses.
Prioritising local customers by offering local delivery, those living in Scotland and across the UK can also purchase goods from the business.
Emily said: “I’ve been working in hospitality since I was 17 and I made my way up. I used to run front of house in a few places in Aberdeen. Hayley was living in Edinburgh at the time so I moved there and was a chef at The Little Chatroom in Edinburgh. Hayley was made redundant and so we moved back to Aberdeen. I got a little job and was then made redundant and it was that, and the pandemic which spurred us on to have our own business.
“It has always been a dream of mine to have my own place and there’s never been a time where you’d be able to get this sort of time to start a business, so we grabbed the opportunity.
“We’re starting online first and will move into a premise in the city centre later on this year. We feel there’s not really a proper delicatessen that sells cured meats, cheeses, wines, the finer things in life, so that’s what we’re going for.
Hayley added: “I’m going to be doing my wine sommelier training soon so that I can offer a bespoke service and I’ll be able to offer suggestions of what other accompaniments go with the wines. We’re offering city-wide delivery and we’ll have some things that will be Scotland-wide and then UK-wide.”
Stocking everything to create the perfect cheeseboard, not to mention a range of store cupboard goods, bakery items and more, they will also collaborate with other local food and drink businesses to further support local producers and restaurants.
Hayley said: “We’ll have meats, cheeses, larder products, bakery products and wine to begin with. For the Aberdeen deliveries, we’ll be creating set boxes full of items that will all be packaged together and be ready for delivery.
“The cheese is all from across Scotland, the cooked meats are all from around Aberdeen and the cured meats come from Italy, France and Spain, so there’s a great mix there. We’re trying to keep everything as Scottish as possible and locally sourced where we can.
“We plan on getting in products that may be harder to get elsewhere. We’ll have Arbroath smokies and we’re working with Cafe Harmony, too. We’ll stock their hummus initially and then we’ll expand the range. We plan on collaborating with other local businesses so we hope people will enjoy this different offering.”
Launching on the same day as the new website, Olive Alexanders wine club will allow customers from all over the UK to enjoy a range of wines that won’t be available to purchase in the future store, or online.
Emily said: “It works on three levels and we wanted to make sure each level was accessible to different people who may be looking for different things. The first level is two bottles, the second is six and the third is 12. We’ll be sending these nationwide and in each box you can pick whether you want red, white, a mix, or if you’d like us to pick for you.
“None of the bottles we have involved in the subscription will be available in store, so they will be unique to the subscription itself. In each box there will be personalised tasting notes, what they pair well with, and a history and description of the winery and the winemaker it comes from. All of our wines are vegan-friendly and majority of them are sulphite free or low in sulphite.
“The wine subscription will launch on Friday, too, and the bottles will be delivered on the second Saturday of each month. It means people will have something to look forward to middle of the month.”
Looking ahead, Emily and Hayley’s main goal is to become an established delicatessen where customers pop in regularly. They also hope to host their own chef’s table events where popular chefs would be able to showcase their offering.
“Our main goal is to get people used to us and to get them understanding our brand and who we are. We want our customers to trust us and know what we are all about. We want to support local businesses as much as possible, so when we open our premises, everyone will know who they are buying and who they are dealing with.
“We’re in discussions on a few things we’d like to do once the shop is open. Wine tastings are a definite, and because of my chef background we’ll be looking to do chef’s tables once a month and getting a high profile chef in. Aberdeen could really do with something like this so we want to take the chance on it. We’re thinking cheese nights, wine nights, you name it.”