Edinburgh Rock factory to close after 135 years

THE factory which makes the famous treat Edinburgh Rock is to close after 135 years.
Tourist Julia Rico samples Edinburgh Rock on the Royal Mile. Picture: Toby WilliamsTourist Julia Rico samples Edinburgh Rock on the Royal Mile. Picture: Toby Williams
Tourist Julia Rico samples Edinburgh Rock on the Royal Mile. Picture: Toby Williams

Ross’s of Edinburgh, which has produced the delicacy since 1880, is shutting its base in Loanhead after its chairman announced his retirement.

Graham Ross, the great-grandson of James Ross, who founded the business as a small sweet shop near Edinburgh University, said he had been unable to convince his family to take over.

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He is retiring after four decades in the business and has agreed a deal to sell his factory, which employs a dozen staff.

He said: “I’m 64 and was made an offer for the factory building that, at my age, I’d be stupid to refuse.

“I’ve been in the business for 40 years and there is a certain sadness in bowing out, but it can’t go on forever.

“My family doesn’t want to follow in my footsteps and we don’t feel we want to turn it over to somebody just to manage it.”

Mr Ross hopes someone will come forward to snap up the brand name and the equipment that makes it – but the future of Edinburgh Rock could lie outside the Lothians.

“The Edinburgh Rock stick machinery is completely unique to us,” he said. “Hopefully somebody will make an offer to buy the brand, the rock machine and the associated bits and pieces. They might offer to buy everything, but you just don’t know.”

And he revealed that there had been an “incredible” response since informing retailers that the factory was closing at the end of March.

He said: “We sent out letters and the very next day I got a response from a sweet shop in Fort William.

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“After that things went berserk. We got calls and messages from all over the place.”

From the early days of James Ross, the firm, which exports to countries such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, has enjoyed sweet success.

Midlothian Council leader Owen Thompson called for confectionary businesses in the Lothians to take up the brand.

He said: “You would hope they would do whatever they possibly could to keep the business local. There are clearly going to be people now who are looking for work and that would be an ideal solution.

“The factory has been there a long time and the closure and impact it will have on the local community is very sad.

“We now need to ensure there are jobs for the people affected.”