An Clachan – the community shop run by Co-Chomunn na Hearadh – has gone from strength to strength in recent years.

Chris Ross, who chairs the board of Co-Chomunn na Hearadh, said that first he would like to thank the management and staff for their input in achieving another successful year in spite of the constant threat from online home delivery shopping super giants Tesco and Amazon.   The shop achieved annual sales as high as £1.3m and has remained in profit since 2013.

“We are fortunate to enjoy good support from local customer together with great participation from an ever increasing tourist trade, the latter being absolutely vital to the long term viability and survival of CCnH.  

“Today, An Clachan is one of the few community shops to, not only, survive but to flourish.  Speaking of the tourism, we are uniquely and strategically placed at the southern gateway of the Island, being the first and last shop to purchase groceries and fuel for arrivals and departures gives us a great advantage.  

“Also, we have loyal support from our local businesses which, of course, is of mutual benefit.  To that end we will be looking at ways to give even more support to this sector along with those that supply their craft to us for resale and, hopefully, this also provides a shop window to advertise their craft leading a wider market for their wares.”

He pointed out that there has been significant capital expenditure over the previous three years including resurfacing the car park, new refrigeration units, new delivery van, upgrading Electronic Point of Sale systems for better stock management, and revamping the craft and hardware departments.  

There were also significant legal fees to transfer ownership of the petrol station and to obtain charitable status.  “In my view, the latter two were the most significant steps taken in CCnH’s long history.  In particular, Charitable Trust Status which must be protected at all cost, to secure the success and finances for the future that will enable CCnH to support the community in a more meaningful and positive way as tax free funds accrue.”

Looking to the future there are many positive developments which will benefit the new CalMac ferries being built on the Clyde; the major tourist attraction including the ‘Machair Kitchen’ created by West Harris Trust; local business developments at the Harris Distillery, The Anchorage and Temple Café; and the proposed Leverburgh Community Hub which will have a whole range of services and facilities.