Fish and chip chain casts net wider in Stirling

A fish and chip shop chain is trawling for further expansion after opening its 12th branch, its first premises outside its west coast heartland.

Thomas McPake from Clydesdale Bank, left, with Alessandro Varese at Blue Lagoon. Picture: Contributed

Family-run firm Blue Lagoon said the new 60-seater restaurant in the centre of Stirling creates 20 jobs and has been set up with investment of more than £600,000.

It comes after the Glasgow-focused chain last year opened a restaurant in Ayr and in 2014 established a presence in Largs.

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The business was founded in 1975 by Italian-born Ersilio Varese, whose first Blue Lagoon shop arrived on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street. He has now handed the empire down to his son Angelo, whose sons Simone, Alessandro and Gianluca are all directors of the firm.

Angelo Varese said: “We are excited to be opening up our new fish and chip shop in Stirling. We’re always looking for opportunities to expand, and when this site became available, we had to take it.

“The location of our outlets is very important to us. All of our sites are in central areas of large towns with high footfall, so being on the corner of Port Street is ideal for us.”

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He added: “When we purchased the property it was a pub that had been closed for around a year, so it needed a lot of work to make it fit for purpose. We’ve gutted the inside and also taken on some structural work to increase the size of the windows at the front of the premises. We are very happy with the quality of the finish and look forward to meeting our new customers.

“As well as investing in the restaurant, we’re contributing to the Stirling economy by creating a mixture of 20 full- and part-time jobs. We felt that Stirling town centre was missing a high-quality fish and chip shop where people could sit down and enjoy a proper fish tea.”

The firm received funding support from Clydesdale Bank, with Thomas McPake, relationship manager from the lender’s Glasgow customer banking centre, facilitating the deal.

Deyrick Smith, head of the banking centre, said: “Blue Lagoon is a well-established and highly-regarded chain in Glasgow and the west. It’s great to see them move into new markets.

“Clydesdale Bank is proud to support businesses achieve their growth ambitions. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Blue Lagoon as they look to expand further.”

Blue Lagoon says on its website that it is “always on the lookout to expand” and would consider sites of between 800 and 2,000 square feet.

Its latest expansion comes after fish and chip brand Harry Ramsden’s opened the UK’s first Harry Ramsden’s City restaurant on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, with the 3,000 square foot site creating 25 jobs, and launched a new pub format in South Queensferry in partnership with Punch Taverns.