Wanted: New owners to take over village shop on idyllic Scottish island

The owners of the store on Lismore are looking for like-minded people to carry the business forward when they retire.
The owners of the store on Lismore are looking for like-minded people to carry the business forward when they retire.
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New owners are being sought for a village shop which provides a lifeline for 180 residents of a tiny Inner Hebrides island.

The Isle of Lismore is in Loch Linnhe, near Mull in Argyll and Bute, and is only ten miles long.

It only has one shop, Lismore Stores, which sells groceries, newspapers and booze as well as providing a postal service to islanders.

For 22 years it has been run by married couple David, 65, and Teenie Wilson, 61.

But they are now planning to retire at the end of March, and are looking for a new owner for the shop.

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Mr Wilson said: "It's pretty close to 23 years now and we want to retire.

"We've changed it a lot in the last 20-odd years and we now have a coffee machine and a nice table for people to sit at.

"The shop supplies the island's needs in terms of groceries, and also I stock haberdashery, small tools and things you might not necessarily get otherwise, except online or by going to the mainland.

"I've always enjoyed working with the community.

"I'm not the best financial person in the world, my wife does most of the finances, but in the front of the house as it were I enjoy visitors and islanders.

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"It's always interesting to see who's there and we have quite a lot of holiday homes on the island, so we have people who come back year after year as well as new ones."

The shop has occupied the same premises for more than a century.

Mr Wilson added: "You also have to rely on the assistance of others.

"Yesterday there was no boat so I organised somebody else to do the shop [on the mainland] because I didn't think I could get back, but you do stock up for those kind of emergencies."

Sebastian Tombs, chairman of the Lismore Community Trust working group, said: "We're very keen not to lose the shop and post office because that's a vital hub for the whole community.

"We have been attracting some younger people to the island.

"A few people have been on work-aways - often international volunteers who come and stay for a period for board and lodging and they offer some hours every day to support work on the croft.

"Some of them have decided it's so nice they've come back and some have put roots down, so if we can get the right people here, they really like it.

"The school population is holding up, but any more losses are a concern and we need to keep the facilities in good order to attract people."