Congratulations to Debbie of Bruichladdich's Mini Market

Debbie’s Mini Market is the 2008 Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust’s 'Young Entrepreneur of the year' Regional Final runner-up. Debbie MacDougall, 26, who took over the Mini-Market at Bruichladdich in 2006 and started offering designer coffees and a fine delicatessen range in addition to the wholefoods and usual corner shop fare. Passionate for new experiences, but appreciative of the important role a traditional corner shop plays in a small community, Debbie’s vision has proved a real success with the locals. Provost Billy Petrie, presented Debbie with her runners up prize of £500, sponsored by Argyll & Bute Council. Murdo MacLeod, PSYBT Regional Chairman, said 'These awards are a wonderful opportunity to showcase some of Scotland’s most talented young entrepreneurs. We are delighted to be involved and to be able to celebrate the determination and innovation of our young people. Their efforts and skills not only help them build solid futures for themselves but are helping to boost the local economies and communities of Scotland.' After the awards presentation, argyll & Bute MP, Alan Reid said, 'All three finalists have done a great job building up successful businesses, putting innovative ideas into practice. I am very impressed by their achievements and wish them all the best for the future. They are a credit to Argyll.' Continue reading.....

The Mini Market has seen plenty of change since Debbie took over in May 2006. Originally a traditional convenience store and post office, the shop, now known locally as Debbie’s, serves designer coffees and offers a range of delicatessen produce in addition to a comprehensive selection of fresh and packet foods, a wide choice of health foods and grains, wines, spirits, Islay malts, frozen foods and cleaning products. The discerning coffee drinker can choose from cappuccino, espresso, americano, latte, or just an excellent cup of coffee accompanied by freshly baked cakes and muffins. Debbie, originally from the island, was inspired by her time working in a coffee shop in New Zealand. When she returned to Scotland she saw the Mini Market was up for sale, realised that it could be the perfect set up for coffee without destroying the local shop and post office.

Two years on, Debbie’s vision has proved a success and even her long established local customers have enjoyed sampling new products. 'I still have tins of beans' explains Debbie, but I’m slowly changing these to organic and I even have the traditional customers asking for things they wouldn’t have dreamed of trying three years ago!' Debbie recognises the important role the shop has to play in the community and is also passionate about sourcing food locally wherever possible. Her determination to succeed and her passion for what she does has carried her through several challenges – from the doubters in the beginning who questioned the viability of her idea to the fact that she gave birth to her son only a year after taking over shop. With plans to expand the business further already underway, there is no doubt that Debbie has proved you can bring change to a traditional business – and be a working mum. In fact she claims her biggest challenge is making sure she stays ahead of the competition. Several other coffee shops on the island have started but to date, Debbie has not seen her business affected. Her exclusive deal with her coffee supplier may be the secret 'Nobody can get their hands on my coffee beans, although believe me they have tried', she jokes. More information is available on Debies Website.

Story published with kind permission of the Ileach

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