Spotty Bag shop signs dotted line for Buy North-East campaign

An iconic north-east shop has joined the campaign to get businesses in the region to spend their money locally.

The Spotty Bag Shop in Banff joined the Buy North East Roll of Honour – along with over 300 other firms in Grampian that have pledged to find at least one new local supplier.

Meghan Hutcheon, business development and marketing executive for the shop  –  famous for the colourful bags to hold  shoppers’ goodies  –  said the local community has always been important to the ethos of the business.

“The Spotty Bag Shop’s renown spreads far and wide but we are firstly and foremost a local store and café and the community is at the heart of everything that we do,” she said.

“Our café is a hub of   activity where locals come to meet and greet one another and   taste our food which is almost entirely sourced locally,   allowing us to achieve Visit Scotland’s  Taste Our Best accreditation.

“We have been committed to the community since our current owner Des Cheyne took the reins almost 10 years ago and we make it a point to always use local suppliers, professional services and even garages where local mechanics service our locally purchased vehicles.”

Self-described as “charming and chaotic”, the enterprise is a emporia of everything  from clothing and soft furnishings to books and  DIY tools  –  with a specialism in fancy dress costumers.

Work has begun on the £2million expansion of the store,  which will increase the workforce by more than half,   making The Spotty Bag Shop Banff’s largest employer. The extension will allow for new office accommodation and staff facilities, with the cafe’s capabilities to increase from 48 to 160 covers.

Mrs Hutcheon added: “This is a major project for Banff and from the outset we have used local businesses   –  from the architect to the tradesmen  –   to carry out the work.

“It will bring greater choice, quality and jobs to local people. It will also bring more people into the area and create greater economic spin-offs in general for local business, and in the process rubber-stamp our long-term commitment to Banff and the north-east of Scotland.”

It takes pride in offering not just a shop but a place that has resisted the decline in shoppers on the high street.

“The rise of internet shopping is having a detrimental effect on the High Street so it is in our interests to encourage people to shop in store and not online,” Mrs Hutcheon said.

“We are adamant at The Spotty Bag Shop that by doing things in the correct manner and offering a bespoke personal service, we will ensure that our business – but more importantly the local community – will continue to thrive.”

The campaign, which continues over the coming weeks, is led by Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce, Aberdeen City Council and Aberdeenshire Council – as well as Aberdeen Journals and Scottish Enterprise.