Facing up to the whiteout

Retailers step up to the plate in snow crisis

LOCAL STORES in many parts of Scotland were among businesses hardest hit when the first days of spring brought major snowfalls, freezing temperatures and long-running power cuts to areas of Dumfries and Galloway, Kintyre and Arran.
Barry Miggin, who owns Bay Stores in Whiting Bay in Arran and his wife Ruth, said the shop was without power from 7am on Friday 22 March to Tuesday 26 March at midnight, and from Wednesday 27 at 1pm to Thursday at 12pm.
“We had around 20 hours of power across the seven days,” he said.
“I’ve lost all the frozen stock, around £2000 worth. The village hall did take some of the stock and cooked it for people who were without power, do it didn’t all go to waste.
“As the shop has been so cold, I’ve been able to keep most of the chilled stock.
“We had four days of writing everything down as the tills weren’t working, but someone eventually gave us a generator, so now we have the tills back.
“We saw more customers coming in and buying more over the first two days of the bad weather, buying things like candles, tins and alcohol, but as the free soup kitchen and burger vans set up, they came in less.
“There will probably be fewer people here for the holiday season. But I would rather forego the customers to keep my power on! The whole system could collapse under the strain.
“We’re better off than hotels and restaurants.”
At Muneroy Stores and licensed tearoom, owned by Frances and Ian Hill in Southend, Mull of Kintyre, 10 miles from Campbeltown, Frances told Scottish Grocer the store was without power for six days, but using a generator the couple supplied the community with 1000 meals in three days from the tearoom.
“We lost power on Friday 22 March but managed to get some power back for the tearoom,” Frances said.
“We lost a lot of stock from our freezers as it was four days before we got the generator, so our insurance will have to cover what we’ve lost. We lost salmon, chicken and ice cream, things like that.
“We had sold out of pretty much everything but Ian managed to get out on Saturday 23 March to get fresh bread, milk and rolls, so that helped.
“We usually get a weekly supply from Booker and from Brakes in Oban, and we got those deliveries as usual.”
Jamie Wood, company director of St Michael’s Service, which has three filling stations and Mace stores in Moffat, Dumfries, and Newton Stewart said the Newton Stewart site was badly hit by the snow.
“We weren’t affected by loss of power so we traded normally, but as the weather got worse, people weren’t moving about and our trade was down quite a bit,” he explained.
“By the Friday afternoon people were just staying away. But by Monday, things were going back to normal.
“With the fuel, we were supposed to get a delivery on the Saturday from BP but the tanker couldn’t get through. Luckily we had enough to see us through to the next delivery on the Monday.”