'Liquid' deli set to run to third outlet

AN innovative "liquid deli" in the Capital is looking to tap into its core customer base by opening its third store in the city centre.

Demijohn, on Victoria Street, is planning to expand into the New Town within the next year following a leap in turnover of almost 300 per cent since the store opened two years ago.

The shop sells exclusive liquid products - from olive oil and fruit vinegars to flavoured liqueurs and whiskies - in large glass bottles which customers can taste before choosing their own bottles to fill.

It has seen turnover rise from 250,000 in its first year of trading, to around 700,000 this year.

And a third shop, combined with growing internet sales, could push turnover past the 1 million mark for store owner Angus Ferguson, who runs Demijohn with his wife, Frances.

Former Black Watch soldier Mr Ferguson, who opened the firm's second branch on Glasgow's upmarket Byres Road in July, said although customers were travelling from all over Edinburgh to shop at his store, he wanted to base a second branch in the heart of the New Town.

Mr Ferguson, who sources his products from individual suppliers in the UK and Italy, said: "A lot of people who shop here are tourists, but most of them come from elsewhere in Edinburgh, especially from areas such as the New Town.

"What I want to do, is to open a store on Frederick or Hanover Street next year and be right in the middle of where our customers live."

He added that he also had his eye on opening another branch in Aberdeen, where the firm has already made a name for itself at local food events.

He said that Demijohn's online shopping arm, which was launched just four months after the shop opened, had gone from strength to strength - making around 50 per cent of the sales value generated by the Victoria Street store.

He said: "Tourists come and buy something here, then go home to America, Germany, wherever, and order more online because they like it so much.

"Internet sales are hard work, as it is harder than you might think to package glass bottles and post them overseas, but it is fantastic that we have customers all over the world now."

But while demand for the store is continuing to grow, Mr Ferguson said his suppliers would be unable to cope with too rapid expansion.

He said: "A lot of our products are made by very small suppliers - some are individuals, who work out of their garden shed and used to make enough of a product only for their own personal use.

"But now I am going to them asking them to make more and if we opened too many shops, they would not be able to keep up. I think will take things slowly, grow organically and see what happens."

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