Man opens UK’s first dedicated seaweed shop

A fisherman has opened a dedicated seaweed shop — thought to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Iain McKellar, 52, has been harvesting seaweed for over 10 years and selling it online to companies and restaurants from all over the globe.

He realised that the abundance of seaweed on the Isle of Bute wasn’t being taken advantage of, and saw an opportunity to sell local produce with a difference.

However, after growing tired of working out of a rusty old portacabin, Iain began looking for properties to expand his business.

With the help of seaweed experts in America, Iain built a business hand-picking different varieties of seaweed from the shores of Bute.

He started selling it online to customers across the world, including in Australia and South Africa, as well as Michelin star restaurants.

And he eventually found a shop in Rothesay which he has moved into and named Just Seaweed.

He now works to order with plans to expand into local delis and cafes.

He said: “It’s the first shop in the UK to sell seaweed, and there are only three companies in the country which actually harvest it.

“I was just processing the seaweed in the back of the empty shop really, and the shop front had been empty for years.

“Recently I started thinking that I could do something with all the space, and make it a place for people to come and try what we do, so we opened it up again as a shop.

“I’ve just got the packaging done to deliver it so I’m now hoping in the near future to get the product into cafes, shops and delis,” he said.

Iain, who was formerly a truck driver, is determined to turn his business into a tourist attraction.

“I said after I was made redundant that if I didn’t take a chance on this seaweed business, I never would,” he said.

“Making the website business work has been hard work but it pays for itself now, and hopefully the shop can be a success too in time.

“It’s going down a storm in Orkney. People are loving getting their first taste of seaweed.”

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