When Heather Forrester discovered a nearby plant nursery was closing down, she jumped at the chance to take it over.
With support from Argyll and Bute Council’s Business Gateway service, Heather, from Cairndow, and her business partner Ryan Petersen, began running Loch Fyne Nurseries and are aiming to expand the range of plants and vegetables on offer in the area, to help local people grow their own.
Heather, 37, had been running a garden maintenance business for six years and although she had looked into the possibility of setting up a small scale nursery in her back garden, she was unsure whether to take the plunge. But, when the premises at Ardkinglas became available she knew it was the right time to turn her dream into a reality.
Heather said: “I had always wanted to run my own plant nursery and when the opportunity arose I had to take it as I couldn’t face the prospect of the existing facility not being used. Ryan was a former customer of mine and garden enthusiast, and he loved the idea. We established Loch Fyne in September but since then have been improving the site. We will be providing the normal services of a wholesale plant nursery but we will add to this as time goes on. The mainstay of the business will be pot-grown native trees and shrubs, hardy herbaceous plants suitable for the Scottish climate and young vegetable plants.
“Although I ran my own business for six years, I needed outside support and advice, so I sought assistance from my local Business Gateway office. I’ve had an incredible experience at Business Gateway, which is an amazing resource for anyone in business. My adviser had information on everything I needed to know in the start-up process and I have saved so much time and money by seeking out Business Gateway’s help, through its advisory service and free workshop programme.”
Barbara Halliday, Business Adviser, Business Gateway said: “Heather has made great use of our free workshops including our bookkeeping and start-up events. Through these she has learned a great deal that she will now carry into her new venture. We worked together on areas such as business planning, VAT and funding options, and we look forward to continuing to assist her as she develops and grows Loch Fyne Nurseries.”