There’s no business like snow business

Retailers step up as snow storm hits Scotland

Edinburgh in snow

SCOTTISH supermarkets may have seen a few tussles in the bread aisle this month but, as the wind from Siberia turned the central belt into a Russian postcard, how did Scotland’s c-stores get on?

Not too badly it seems, with retailers across the country stepping up to keep doors open for as long as the elements would allow.

In Biggar, South Lanarkshire, Donna Morgan of Best-One @ Brownlie’s said her store performed well despite the challenges.

“We were very busy which is good,” said Donna.

“We bake our own bread and managed to keep baking bread.

“The roads were closed, but a couple of deliveries managed to get in. Warburtons got in, Walkers made it with their big truck, and the chap from Mortons Rolls was amazing, he was in every day.”

There may be have been gaps on the shelves at Brownlie’s, but not on the rota according to Donna who heaped praise on the effort put in by store staff throughout the adverse conditions.

“My staff were amazing, everyone was in. We stayed open regular hours, six until 10. One of my staff members was in at half past four in the morning to make sure the shop opened on time while I had kids to juggle with the schools closed,” she said.

From South Lanarkshire to the North East, wintery conditions weren’t so bad in Peterhead.

Speaking in the wake of the red weather warning that was issued across the Central Belt, forecourt retailer Gary Haig of Peterhead Motors explained: “It’s not really affected us. We had a dusting here but it wasn’t as thick.

“What it did was affect my supplies.

“Filshill couldn’t deliver to us because they’re stuck in the Central Belt and Nisa comes up from Livingston so they couldn’t deliver to me.”

Empty shelves
As central Scotland ground to a halt, supermarket shelves were left empty

Store supply lines weren’t the only ones knocked off by blizzards, as Gary revealed fuel was also a concern during the storm.

“I had fuel, but there’s a filling station at Mintlaw that ran out, Asda and Morrisons also ran out.

“Esso was supposed to come in on Tuesday but that delivery didn’t arrive until Saturday,” he said.

Veteran retailer David Sands also experienced delivery woes as the Beast from the East blasted Britain and he reckons some suppliers must do better in future.

“It was frantic. Customers rely on us to get daily supplies and we had to go ourselves,” said David.

“Nisa’s central distribution chain had not been good. The communication telling us when we were going to get deliveries was very poor.

“With milk we couldn’t tell customers when we were going to get it. It made us look pretty stupid. People rely on their local stores.

“I distinctly remember 2010 when the weather was probably worse, that you’ve just got to prioritise things.

“It didn’t help the Scottish Government telling lorries not to be on the road. Food stores should be a priority along with hospitals.”

While Nisa may not have come through, David Sands said his staff were excellent throughout.

“Yes we had difficulties but we worked around it, we had some people staying in hotels which is fine, we pay for that. I think all stores have a duty to be open in conditions like this,” he said.