A long-established general store in the East Neuk village of Crail has been totally transformed by new owners Joanne and Iain Stewart and given a new lease of life as an eco-friendly café and gift shop, offering visitors local arts and crafts along with speciality coffee, light lunches and home baking and locally produced ice cream.
Originally from county Durham, Joanne came for a weekend to Scotland 31 years ago and stayed and then met and married Iain. The couple took a leap of faith when they bought the Beehive during the covid-19 lockdown. Since then, they’ve never looked back and started work on the former historic coach house in Crail in February 2021. They have lovingly restored the character of the building to reflect its heritage, using reclaimed materials where possible and stripping back the interior to the expose its original features.
Joanne commented: “This has truly been a labour of love for us. We have fallen in love with living in Crail and the beautiful East Neuk coast. We felt it was important to offer goods produced locally in the café and gift shop. The support we have been given by the local community has spurred us on to create something really special in the village.”
Joanne and Iain had originally planned to open last summer, but supply issues, coupled with the Covid pandemic and availability of tradespeople, prompted them to delay the opening for a few months. During the coming summer, there will be a special focus on eco-friendly products, when The Beehive Crail will offer plastic-free beach toys and will hire out buckets and spades, crab lines, nets, handmade branded bellyboards and other beachy items.
Business Adviser at Business Gateway Fife, Alasdair Busby has provided wide-ranging advice and support including access to market research on competitors and signposting to the several Fife Council departments including Planning, Environmental Health and Health & Safety. Alasdair added, “the website and social media presence also required development and we were able to secure excellent Digital Boost support for strategy for the business. We are now looking at a strategy for the year ahead including Expert Help around Marketing. Joanne and Iain have also been referred to Zero Waste Scotland as they aim to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible.”
Joanne added, “We are enormously grateful for the support from Business Gateway Fife, as well as the local community and tradespeople who’ve helped get us to this point. We hope that The Beehive Crail will become something to be proud of and honour Crail’s fine past.”
Whether thinking of starting a business or looking to grow or sustain an existing business, contact Business Gateway Fife on 01592 858333 for a variety of advice and support.