People: Nespresso launches boutique coffee shop in Edinburgh

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Coffee lovers converged on the new Nespresso “boutique” in Edinburgh’s fashionable Multrees Walk last week to mark the opening of the Nestle-owned company’s latest outlet.

Brema Drohan, managing director for the UK and Ireland, joined the launch party along with Edinburgh chef Tom Kitchin, right, who introduced some specially-made nibbles incorporating the Nespresso blends. He hinted at following his fellow celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal by selling it in his restaurants.

The company, formed in 1996, was an early online adopter, and the Multrees Walk branch is only the eighth under Drohan’s command. The first was in Knightsbridge, London in 2000. She said Nespresso, recently promoted by the actor George Clooney, would look to other sites in Scotland, but nothing was planned short term.

“A lot of retailers now find themselves burdened with too many outlets,” said Drohan, who has worked for the firm for 21 years and in her current role since 1999.

“We are not dependent on bricks and mortar. The boutiques act as tasting rooms for consumers.”

Freer looks to expansion

Nick Freer, one of Scotland’s numerous one-man-band public relations operators, is having no trouble attracting some big-name clients and is considering his own expansion plans.

Freer spent ten years working in PR in London and trained under the wing of his uncle, Angus Maitland. Since returning to Scotland, he has built a portfolio that includes the fast-growing search engine Skyscanner and tyre-fitting business Blackcircles.

Last week he was handed the Informatics Ventures account after the support agency for early stage technology firms ended a two-year relationship with Big Partnership’s Edinburgh office.

Freer says he seems to have been particularly successful in the technology sphere. “Edinburgh is emerging as a leading technology hub, starting to earn a world-wide reputation and it’s great to be a part of that,” he said. He is now looking to open an office in central Edinburgh and maybe hire some support.

The growth of his business coincides with the imminent launch of Charlotte Street Partners, run by Malcolm Robertson and Andrew Wilson, and the return to Scotland of Citigate, which last week announced it was opening an office in Glasgow to be run by former journalist Colin Grant.

Allan tucks into No 1 spot

The Allan family of butchers – brothers Gordon and James and their sons Ross and Stewart – have reason to celebrate. Their Falkirk meat business, Malcolm Allan, has emerged as the No 1 Scottish food brand, according to the number crunchers at research outfit Kantar.

The business is also celebrating its 25th year supplying Asda – a relationship that began with it feeding hungry warehouse workers at the grocery giant’s nearby distribution centre.

These days, the Allan boys, and their 150 staff, churn out some ten million sausages a year and a sufficient quantity of steak pies to form a stack that measures 24 times the height of Ben Nevis.

Slow boat returns to China

Estate agent David Alexander is packing his bags and heading back to Hong Kong – for the first time in 14 years.

Alexander ran a series of investment property “showcases” in Hong Kong during the 1990s, as wealthy ex-pats looked for somewhere to stash their cash ahead of the colony being handed back to the Chinese.

“At the time we thought we saw a business opportunity driven by fear – British expatriates and Chinese businessmen being fearful of the consequences of the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty,” Alexander explains. He now plans to market high-priced Edinburgh property to Chinese parents whose children are being educated in Scotland.