Eilidh’s foodie ven­ture fills a gap in Lochgilp­head

Campbeltown Courier - - BUSI­NESS -

An ex­pe­ri­enced hospi­tal­ity worker has ful­filled her dream of open­ing her own café. Eilidh Thom­sen has 12 years of ser­vice in the sec­tor – from wait­ress­ing and man­ag­ing ho­tels to gain­ing culi­nary skills to be­come a cook. Last year, how­ever, she de­cided to take the leap and open her own café. With sup­port from Busi­ness Gate­way Ar­gyll and Bute, Eilidh launched Salty Dog Café in Lochgilpead, which caters for ev­ery­one and of­fers a warm and wel­com­ing at­mos­phere. Eilidh said: ‘Last year I needed to make a change and give my­self a chal­lenge so I took the steps needed to open a café in Au­gust. I knew that there was a gap in the mar­ket for a café in the town and I had the con­fi­dence to believe I could make it work. Af­ter plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions and work­ing out costs we opened in De­cem­ber which was a very proud day. The lo­cal re­sponse I’ve had since then has been fan­tas­tic. My cus­tomers feel that our café is a real as­set to the town and was much needed. ‘The sup­port I had from Busi­ness Gate­way was great. I had one-to-one ad­vice and went along to work­shops that helped me with my book­keep­ing which ul­ti­mately gave me the con­fi­dence to do my own books.’ Salty Dog Café of­fers a range of home­made food, snacks and drinks that cater for var­i­ous di­etary needs in­clud­ing gluten and lac­tose-free. Eilidh has also turned the wall space into a gallery for her fa­ther’s paint­ings. Eilidh added: ‘My first hospi­tal­ity job was wait­ress­ing in a veg­e­tar­ian res­tau­rant and then I be­gan work­ing at the Cairn­baan Ho­tel. Even­tu­ally I be­came duty man­ager but I was al­ways keen to learn new things and gain dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences so I left and be­came a deputy cook in a very tourist ori­en­tated lo­ca­tion. Af­ter 12 years in the busi­ness I amassed var­i­ous skills and I knew then that I wanted my own busi­ness as I en­joyed cook­ing, bak­ing and know­ing peo­ple en­joyed my food. ‘I’m lov­ing run­ning the café and it’s been fan­tas­tic get­ting to know all my cus­tomers in per­son and on Face­book. My dad is a tal­ented artist and show­cas­ing his paint­ings on our walls was the per­fect fin­ish­ing touch to the café.’ Don­ald Melville of Busi­ness Gate­way Ar­gyll and Bute said: ‘Eilidh used our ser­vices to learn more about how to suc­cess­fully set up a busi­ness. Through our ad­vi­sory sup­port and work­shops, she learned vi­tal skills that al­lowed her to con­fi­dently launch Salty Dog Café.’ To find out more about how Busi­ness Gate­way can help you set up and de­velop your own busi­ness call 01546 808363 or visit www.bgate­way.com/ar­gyll-and-bute

Eilidh Thom­sen in the Salty Dog Café.

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