End of an era as head of fam­ily firm KK’s re­tires

The Oban Times - - News - MON­ICA GIBSON mgib­son@oban­times.co.uk

IT’S the end of an era for a fam­ily busi­ness af­ter 140 years of ser­vice.

KK Cameron, or KK’s as it’s of­ten re­ferred to, was es­tab­lished in 1874 by Wal­ter Cameron.

Orig­i­nally a bak­ers, the busi­ness has changed fo­cus and premises over the years, most re­cently op­er­at­ing in Caol un­der the watch­ful eye of Ken­neth (Kim) Cameron.

Now, af­ter 50 years at the helm, Kim who is Wal­ter’s great grand­son, has de­cided to sell up shop, work­ing his last shift on Mon­day.

As Mr Cameron ap­proached the dead­line, he told The Oban

Times he be­lieves it is the abil­ity to change with the times which helped the fam­ily stay in busi­ness so long. He added: ‘I sup­pose KK’s will mean a lot of things to a lot of peo­ple. I’m not sure where the orig­i­nal shop was, but 141 High Street is where many peo­ple will re­mem­ber us from. That shop was a bak­ers and gro­cer. In 1953 it turned into a restau­rant and in 1984 it was a cof­fee shop. It sort of trans­formed with the trends of that era.’

In 1966 Kim started help­ing his father out with the busi­ness as a driver at the age of 17. He helped out with the de­liv­ery van which was also known as the High School Tuck Shop. In 1986 the premises in Caol was pur­chased but he re­mem­bers some other dra­matic changes.

He said: ‘ The in­tro­duc­tion of scan­ning was a big thing and dur­ing the 1970s there were short­ages some­times. It’s a very dif­fer­ent op­er­a­tion nowa­days.’

The shop in Caol will re­main open hav­ing been bought by the own­ers of RS McColl.

Many of the cur­rent staff also plan to con­tinue work­ing there, but Kim is look­ing for­ward to see­ing more of the world.

The father of four said: ‘My sons are all do­ing very well. They got jobs out­side the fam­ily busi­ness and I couldn’t be hap­pier for them.

‘The first grand­child has been born now so I plan to spend a month in the US vis­it­ing. I’ll be join­ing my wife out there – we would have trav­elled to­gether but we weren’t ex­pect­ing the shop to sell so quickly.’

Mr Cameron added: ‘I’m a firm be­liever that the ‘ West is best’ but af­ter this trip I look for­ward to trav­el­ling more around Scot­land and dong all things I didn’t re­ally have time for be­fore.’

The Cameron fam­ily is also look­ing to gather items of mem­o­ra­bilia re­lated to the shops and busi­ness. To con­trib­ute, email your pic­ture or story to kk.cameron@or­ange.net. Al­ter­na­tively, drop it into one of the KK mem­ory boxes around Lochaber, in­clud­ing in the for­mer shop in Caol, West High­land Mu­seum, Fort Wil­liam Li­brary, The Gran­ite House and Ben Ne­vis Book Li­brary.

Pho­to­graph by An­thony MacMil­lan Pho­tog­ra­phy.

Kim Cameron out­side the store in Caol as he re­tires af­ter 50 years at the helm.

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