It’s all change for flooring and homeware outlet in town
By Eilidh Whiteford
MacGillivray's Flooring and Furnishings in Stornoway is to change hands, but the excellent reputation and quality of work expected from the island company will remain as two current MacGillivray fitters have bought in to take over the business, current owned by Rory MacGillivray from MacGillivrays in Balivanich .
Keen to mark the change, yet keep a close connection with the long-established business, new partners David MacDonald and Neil Morrison are renaming the Scotland Street shop 'Home & Floors by MacGillivrays'.
“It really is an opportunity we couldn't turn down,” said David, 31, who lives in Fivepenny, Ness, with his wife who is expecting their first child soon
And Niseach Neil added: “At 23 years old to be getting such an opportunity is fantastic, and with Rory behind us we're not getting thrown in at the deep-end, he's there at the end of the phone for any questions we have.”
Rory is the third generation to run the family owned award-winning business established first in Benbecula in 1941.
The flooring and furnishing side of the business opened in 1990, with the Stornoway branch, which offers carpet, vinyl, wood and Karndean floorings and installation, as well as a selection of beds, bedroom furniture, fittings and blinds, opening in 2009.
The process of transferring ownership and management of a shop has been successfully tested by Rory previously on the Isle of Skye, where he established Skye Floors in 1996 and took on his first apprentice as partner.
“I was able to step back quite quickly as the company continued to develop under the new ownership,” he said of the Skye venture. “I’m sure the same will happen here with Home and Floors; and as David and Neil become new owners, gain customer confidence, the MacGillivrays name will become smaller and smaller.
“The original plan for MacGillivrays opening in Stornoway was always to look for local partners. We're in the third generation of the family business, so inviting people out with the family to join the company means you really have to know the people you approach, and have the confidence they are the right people to take the business forward.”
Rory said: “David was on one of the first courses I taught at Lews Castle College and I saw then that this was a guy for the future.
“He has the right attitude and approach, he's polite and friendly with customers and has a cool and calm manner. His standard of workmanship is excellent and he's a man you want to be working beside you.
“Neil was taken on as an apprentice and you could see the potential there. He's got the right attitude, is respectful and mannerly when in peoples' homes, and has demonstrated a maturity beyond his years in his approach to work. Again, he has high standards of work and understanding of what is required to run a business and deliver customer expectations.”
“Both David and Neil have the skill-set on the flooring side of things to carry out any installation to a very high standard, I have no concerns whatsoever,” he added.
David and Neil took control from July 1st, and look forward to finding out what it takes to run a successful business.
“We can't wait to get stuck in and it's going to be interesting to see how everything works behind the scenes,” said Neil “We know it's going to be small steps to get to where we want to be.”
David continued: “The good thing is we're not learning everything at once - like an apprenticeship, we will learn as we go. Rory is there to help and that gives our long-standing clients and suppliers an added confidence in us as well.
“For our customers, it's still the same guys going out to do the installations, they're still going to get the same quality and attention as before.”
Rory hopes that MacGillivray's existing and new customers will get behind David and Neil and support them in the new venture: “It takes a lot of courage for these young men and their families to take a big step like this,” he said.
“I’m sure the communities will recognise this and support them by giving them a chance of work – from that point, the rest is up to them to deliver.
“It will be a time consuming process to take on full responsibility, but I have every confidence in them. The standard of work demonstrated by them without being company owners has always impressed me.”