Greggs will open a new outlet in Inverness next year – marking the first time the bakery chain has arrived in the Highlands.
The billion pound baker has more than 2,000 UK locations and recently announced plans to open 150 more in 2022.
A flyer advertising for staff recently appeared at the Esso garage on Longman Road and the chain has now confirmed its plans.
A spokesman said: “We can confirm we’re looking to open a shop in Inverness next year with our franchise partner MFG. We will be sure to share information in due course.”
How will a new Greggs stack up against the local kingpins in Inverness?
Greggs has had most of the UK in a vice-like grip for years, but for a long time, the north of Scotland was like the dark side of the moon to them.
That changed earlier this year when two shops opened on the A96 in Elgin.
The announcement created a huge buzz, and reached more than 70,000 people on the Press and Journal’s Facebook page.
Those two, like the new one in Inverness will be, are based in service stations.
It remains to be seen whether Greggs will be willing to take the north’s local bakers on in their back yard on High Streets across the region.
If they do, they can expect a firm challenge from local kingpins Harry Gow and Ashers.
Last month, Harry Gow director Fraser Gow said he was entirely confident there was enough room for everyone.
He said: “When news of Greggs’ arrival in Moray hit social media, a lot of people thought we were about to start a bunfight.
“But as the first ever – and only two-time – Scottish Baker of the Year we’re confident we’ve got nothing to prove.
“Anything that gets people excited about the joy of a tasty cake or a nice, hot pie is good in our books.”
‘I’m sure Greggs will have done their sums’
That confidence was echoed by Ashers director Ali Asher.
He said: “I’m sure Greggs will have done their sums. But it’s a long way to come for a relatively low population base.
“They can no doubt subsidise it as part of a huge group but I’m confident the vast majority of customers will stick with their local bakers.”
Going on past evidence, the new Greggs will be a success.
Pre-pandemic, the bakery giant was shifting more than 2.5 million sausage rolls and one million cups of coffee a week.
It’s a takeaway juggernaut that is continuing to grow.
But coming into an area where local is still king, success is far from guaranteed.