Spey Larder in Aberlour welcomes new owners
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A POPULAR Speyside delicatessen has changed ownership after the business was purchased by a local couple.
John and Kate Smith took over at The Spey Larder in Aberlour on Wednesday last week from previous owners David and Sheena Catto.
David and Sheena purchased the business in 2002 but decided to sell after 20 years of ownership so that they could retire and spend more time with family.
Regulars fearing that the local favourite will undergo dramatic changes needn't worry, however, as John insists that the pair are only looking to build on the good work of David and Sheena.
"They've really built up a recognised brand and a really loyal customer base," John said.
"The shop has been very well run and well managed over the years so we don't anticipate making any significant changes in the short term.
"We're keen to put our own stamp on it but you have to introduce change slowly to people because if we change too much too quickly we're going to turn people off."
Kate knows the business well having supplied the shop with local produce over the years and John brings 14 years of business experience having worked as an Export Sales Manager for Harbro.
"We've got different skill sets but the two should compliment each other well," John said.
That combination ensures that the business will remain in safe hands, insists former owner David Catto.
"We've known Kate for several years," David said.
"She grows wonderful produce on her farm so we have total confidence in their abilities to carry on and look after our customers and staff.
"I'm going to miss it but we're not getting any younger so the time was right."
Purchasing the business will allow the Knockando residents to spend more time at home after John's previous role required extensive travel.
John said: "I remember the Spey Larder from my school days so we both know the area pretty well.
"Opportunities like this don't come around too often so for us it was a sensible decision.
"We're a young couple with two young children so we're looking forward to running the shop and getting to know our regulars."
Getting used to retirement poses it's own challenges for David and Sheena who have grown accustomed to spending much of their time at the shop.
"It's going to be exciting and sad at the same time," David added.
"We're looking forward to it though and we'll have more time to spend with our grandchildren.
"Sheena and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers and our work colleagues - past and present - for their kind words and good wishes.
"We would also like to thank everyone for their cards, gifts and bouquets of flowers which we received on announcing our retirement."