Our stockists play an enormous role in how we reach out to folks across the world from our small island and share the Raasay story. For this month’s spotlight, we are on home turf and heading to the Raasay Community Stores to chat to shop manager David Carslaw about his experiences there. Not only does he run the shop, but is also a father of six children, including two members of our team, and is a vital part of the Raasay community through being part of local services.
This is the only shop on the Isle of Raasay, so is the beating heart of the community – locals are always bound to run into people they know for a chat. The shop also serves as the island’s Royal Mail post office, with local postmen ensuring deliveries across Raasay six days a week.
You can find Isle of Raasay Single Malt and Isle of Raasay Gin in the Raasay Community stores as well as an abundance of organic produce, local meat, newspapers and snacks galore. Any trip to Raasay is not complete without popping into the Raasay Community Stores.
Scroll down to find out more about the shop and the manager, David.
When was your first day working in the shop and can you tell us a little bit about your time working here so far?
I started working in the shop in August of 2004. That was part time, working for Caroline who owned the shop at the time. When the community shop takeover happened I applied for the manager position and started that in September 2013. I’ve been full time at that since then and it’s been a mostly enjoyable experience.
What made you decide to take it on?
I felt that my skill set and experience put me in a good position to take the manager’s job and I had some ideas about growing the business that I wanted to try and put into place. I also like the idea of driving the community project from the manager’s seat. This being a different prospect than just a typical store manager’s job.
What is your favourite place to go on Raasay and why?
Screapadal. At the South end of the beach there is a large pile of rocks and behind that a small inlet which is like a hidden pirate cove. Complete with Rowan tree and it’s own waterfall. It’s a stunning part of the island that gets very little attention.
What are some of your favourite/most popular things to stock in the shop?
The pies. We’ve got a great selection of pies to grab and go and every one is tasty. The meat is also very good, from our regular butcher and the local venison and dexter beef we stock.
What is something about the Raasay Community Stores that people may not know already?
Hmmm, I tell everyone everything, so I’m not sure. We have over 1500 individual lines crammed in. That’s something. (A line is an individual product – so it’s quite a lot of items to keep track of in such a small shop)
What challenges do you face running a shop business on an island?
Unique ones to Raasay are probably the accessibility of supplies and getting stores over on the ferry, That can be problematic. Particularly as the goods always arrive in the middle of the operating day, rather than first thing in the morning when most shops get their deliveries.
You’re also a member of the fire service, can you tell us some more about that and anything else you do on Raasay outside of the shop?
As an on-call firefighter, we work our day jobs and come together every week for training, and whenever there are callouts. I also like to take photos when out and about.
The Isle of Raasay, an island rooted in centuries of illicit distilling, provides the ingredients for the perfect dram. Our lightly peated Isle of Raasay Single Malt is an expression of this magical place.
Our zesty, smooth and refreshing Isle of Raasay Gin combines an exciting selection of ten Raasay and traditional botanicals, including Raasay juniper, sweet orange peel, rhubarb root and our double distilled spirit.