A 26-year-old entrepreneur has unveiled her new mobile shop which is serving up local produce in a line-up of north-east communities.
Store 34 launched last Tuesday (November 30) and is the brainchild of Hayley McDonald, who was eager to give older and vulnerable locals the freedom and opportunity to do their own shopping whilst supporting local businesses.
Currently residing in New Leeds with her boyfriend Ally Thompson, Hayley has worked in the hospitality industry since the age of 15 when she started out as a waitress in Strichen Lodge and went on to acquire the title of head chef at the restaurant and coffee shop several years later.
However, says she has “always wanted to be her own boss.”
A five-figure sum has been invested into the van, which was purchased from a couple based near Newmachar in March.
As promoting local businesses is one of Store 34’s main aims, it sells produce from:
- Rennie’s Eggs (Fraserburgh)
- Webster’s Bakery (Fraserburgh)
- Bruce of the Broch (Fraserburgh)
- A. Thompson Jr (Fraserburgh)
- Pie Aroma (Strichen)
- Gladstone Bakery (Peterhead)
- Coutts the Butcher (Peterhead)
- Downies (Whitehills)
Hayley, who currently works at Bruce of the Broch’s bakery factory in Fraserburgh, says: “We offer a variety of goods including milk, eggs, bakery products, potatoes, fish, pies, butchers meat, confectionary and even toilet roll.
“I want to support local because during lockdown it was the smaller businesses that did more to help and ensure we were kept going through the pandemic.
“I’m keen to help them back. Hopefully they benefit from my sales.
“It’s what people want at the end of the day – fresh, local produce.”
Store 34 visits local villages surrounding Fraserburgh and Mintlaw.
These include Crimond, Blackhills, St Fergus, Longside, Maud, Strichen, Stuartfield, New Pitsligo, St Combs, Lonmay, Inverallochy, Memsie, Sandhaven, Rosehearty, New Leeds and Fraserburgh itself.
“Another aim is to give older and vulnerable people some freedom and the chance to do their own shopping,” Hayley adds.
“When my own granny went into sheltered housing late last year and was no longer allowed to drive, I realised how isolated she must have felt.
“I wanted to bring people like her their independence and confidence back, and give them something to look forward to.”
‘I sold my own car to help fund it’
The mobile shop is a former bakery van, so Hayley says there is plenty of storage for dry goods.
“I bought the van from a lovely couple just outside Newmachar,” Hayley adds.
“The lady used to drive around Aberdeen in it selling baker’s goods.
“The van had been sitting in their big farm shed for seven years when we went to look at it.”
It took around four months to refurbish the van and ensure it was fit for the road.
Hayley completed and finalised all the necessary paperwork in the meantime.
She says: “I eventually got the go-ahead halfway through November, so it took some time to get everything in order.
“Overall, we have invested a five-figure sum into it. I also sold my car to help fund it!
“It took me quite a while to decide on the name Store 34, but 34 is my house number and I thought it sounded good. Some of my other ideas were too daft.”
Although the business officially began trading last Tuesday, Hayley decided to help out locals that were affected by Storm Arwen power outages on Sunday November 28.
“I had a spontaneous trial run at St Combs as I heard there was still no power there,” she said.
“I took it upon myself to go out and offer free teas and coffee to those affected and help the community. Everyone I served was very grateful.”
Store 34 is currently open Tuesday to Thursday from 7.30am to 5pm (roughly).
However, Hayley plans to go full-time with the van (Monday to Friday) with some extra stops added to the line-up when she is confident it will “take off”.
“All the communities I have visited so far have been giving me very positive feedback,” Hayley adds.
“Everyone has been extremely supportive, it’s amazing and I’m so thankful.
“Seeing those smiling faces when I’m out and about makes it all worth it!”
To keep up-to-date on Store 34’s opening hours and routes, visit the business’ Facebook page.