MORAY businessman David Robertson admitted the newest outlet in his family retail business was “too good an opportunity to miss”.
Bijou by the Sea will open next month at Strathlene, creating between 12 and 16 new jobs in the Buckie area.
The restaurant and coffee shop will include jewellery and gift items, and Mr Robertson hopes that its stunning location on the shores of the Moray Firth will see it become a destination retail attraction for the Buckie and Moray area.
Mr Robertson has purchased the former Aurora Restaurant and is using the facility to expand his Bijou retail brand.
The family firm already runs the award-winning Bijou card, gift, jewellery and coffee shop in Elgin, as well as JP Pozzi newsagent and card shop, and Between Friends gift shop in Buckie.
Mr Robertson (38), managing director of Pozzi Ltd, revealed that the new Bijou by the Sea will take the company’s total workforce to around 60.
“When we opened Bijou in Elgin we wanted to create a destination store in the town centre,” he said.
“We want to do the same thing here, and want people to associate this with really good, local food, with the emphasis on seafood.”
Mr Robertson admitted after over three years of success following the opening of Bijou in Elgin, he had been looking to consolidate in 2013.
“I wasn’t looking at any more projects this year, but this was too goo an opportunity to miss. The location is brilliant, and it is one of the most magical views you can get,” he said.
When the former restaurant came on the market, Mr Robertson had shaken hands on a deal within a matter of days, and is now looking forward to opening towards the middle of September.
With the Strathlene Caravan Park and golf club nearby, and a colony of seals on the Craigenroan outcrop, the outlet is ideally placed to capture tourist trade as well as local business.
And Mr Robertson aims to use the restaurant and coffee shop to encourage people to visit his Bijou themed stores in Elgin and Buckie, while at the same time supporting other town centre businesses.
“I want to help drive footfall into the town centre in Buckie, and if people enjoy the experience here that will help do that,” he said.
“A lot of people who have used our Elgin store will want to come down here to get a taste of Bijou by the Sea.
“The location is the winner. The building is already here and it is just a case of putting the Bijou stamp on it.
“My mum Lynda came up with the name. When my mum saw it she said ‘it will have to be Bijou by the Sea’; almost a throwaway line, but it has stuck.”
Mr Robertson has had over 200 applications for positions at the new business, and has been overwhelmed by the interest.
The restaurant will be open seven days a week and also Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.
“People want to feel valued and be served by staff who look after them. If you do that, whether you are a small shop or large business, you will do well,” said Mr Robertson.
The family firm has won a string of awards in recent years for its customer service and retail experience.
“Bijou has won Card Shop of the Year Scotland for the fifth time, Costume Jewellery Retailer of the UK, and Pozzi was Newstrade Retailer of the Year Scotland for the second time, the first business ever to win it twice,” said Mr Robertson.
His parents, Lynda and James, started the family business 26 years ago when they bought JP Pozzi. The newsagents, which employs over 40 paper boys and girls, started life in the same building 112 years ago, as Yeadon’s Bookshop before it was bought by James Peter Pozzi.
He sold it to George Cowie, who in turn sold it to Mr Robertson’s parents.
Mrs Robertson built up the gift shop side of the business from scratch, travelling the UK to source unique items.
His parents are both still involved in the business.