A CASTLETOWN butcher plans to expand his business by taking over a disused building in the centre of the village.
Derek Mackay, who has run his shop in Traill Street for the past nine years, bought the old Co-op building on Main Street at the end of 2016.
The property has been unoccupied for many years but is about to get a new lease of life.
Work is being carried out at the property which was, at one time, owned by the Norfrost freezer firm.
Mr Mackay said the old roof has been removed, internal alterations have been made, a new floor put in while new doors and windows will be installed shortly.
He said: “The building has been empty for years so it will be good to see it back in use. It is in a central location, will give us more room and enable us to expand.
“We will have more counter space and more fridges. The bigger premises will enable my skilled staff to continue to create exciting new products.”
Mr Mackay, who leases his present shop, employs five full-time and one part-time staff and hopes to create more jobs in the future as the business grows.
He said: “We have been feeling for some time that we needed bigger premises to provide more products and more choice to our customers.
“There is nothing wrong with the building we are in but we just need bigger premises and a more modern shop. We have reached the limit of what we can do here.”
Mr Mackay hopes to make the move later in the year and has plans to rent out the upstairs flat in the building in the future. The shop will be on the ground floor.
The 37-year-old businessman, who was born in Thurso but brought up in the Wick area, worked for 10 years at the Co-op stores in both towns.
He was nine years at the supermarket in Wick and one at its Thurso store before joining the Castletown butcher’s in 2006. Two years later he took over the shop.
Trade has been “pretty steady” but Mr Mackay feels he requires larger premises to extend the business and provide more products and give the customers more choice.
“I feel there is a lot more we can do and the old Co-op building will enable us to expand,” he said.
Mr Mackay’s partner, Barbara Webster, runs the Castletown chip shop which is close to the butcher’s shop. She took over the business about 18 months ago.