Argyll and Bute isn’t just about kicking back and relaxing. We punch well above our weight when it comes to innovation and business success.
Scattered throughout the area we have world leaders in manufacturing and design, aquaculture, and food and drink, not to mention artists and musicians.
We are a population of entrepreneurs. Twelve per cent of our residents are self-employed, that’s four per cent more than the rest of Scotland.
More and more film productions are finding their way here – Argyll even features in a couple of scenes in the latest Jurassic World feature.
Our featured business
Dawn and Joe Reade started the adventure of a lifetime establishing Island Bakery, in a garage, aged just 22, following the retirement of the local baker.
Over the years Island Bakery has evolved to a fully stocked bakery and delicatessen shop, serving locals and visitors on Tobermory’s colourful Main Street, to what it is now - an award-winning organic biscuit bakery in a purpose built and eco friendly factory just outside of town.
The biscuit side of the business grew from a desire to balance out seasonal fluctuations. Dawn explained: “We thought that the best way to do that would be to launch a new baked product that could travel off the island and that would have a long enough shelf life to reach customers throughout Scotland, the UK and beyond. We hoped that this would make it possible to employ our staff year round, and to grow the business.”
In 2001, they started to make a small range of organic sweet biscuits and established a number of wholesale customers who supply to independent retailers in the specialty food sector throughout the UK. The biscuits quickly won several Great Taste awards and were stocked in prestigious shops like Selfridges. The chocolate Gingers scooped an Organic Food award, while Lemon Melts were quickly established as the best sellers, winning ‘The Nation’s Favourite Organic Product’ in 2017.
By 2007 the biscuits were outstripping the shop’s turnover and Joe and Dawn decided to sell the shop to concentrate on the biscuits alone.
Now, manufacture is done in a purpose-built factory just along the road from their original garage. Ovens are fuelled by local timber, while electricity comes from both wind and hydro-electricity generated on the neighbouring family dairy farm, run by Joe’s brothers Brendan and Garth, who make the wonderful Isle of Mull Cheese.
Dawn said: “Our desire to live on the Isle of Mull was the number one reason to set up our own business, as it was then the best opportunity for us to make a life here. The original attractions of the spectacular scenic beauty and gentler way of life have been matched by the sense of belonging to a close knit community and the extraordinary freedom it has given our children as they have grown up.
“Although Joe has lived on Mull since he was 12, I had never lived anywhere but cities before, and I’ve enjoyed so much about island life, that I doubt I would ever live anywhere else now. There is so much to do here apart from work – there are great walks, fantastic trips out, wildlife spotting opportunities galore, excellent schools, great food and drink, a thriving arts and cultural scene, and plenty of clubs and groups to get involved with.”