Rosemary Hunter set up Weigh Ahead as a Community Interest Company in 2019, putting her environmental principles into action.
She said: “I saw Ecolarder’s crowdfunder and thought that it was a great idea. I decided rather than becoming the ranty, anti-plastic and environmental woman, I would do something positive towards making a change and had always loved the idea of opening and running a shop. A big change from my former life as a Chartered Financial Planner.
“The Crowdfunder was a great success and helped me launch the business, as did securing funding from the Royal Bank of Scotland’s Back Her Business Awards and First Port.”
So where did the name Weigh Ahead come from?
Rosemary said: “I asked a group of 20 friends to provide suggestions and was inundated with ideas – I thought someone might kill me if I went with ‘Rosie’s’, so after much deliberation Weigh Ahead was it!
“We are a zero-waste shop focusing on encouraging people towards shopping more sustainably.”
Starting in the former TSB bank, at 30 Dunblane High Street, the shop quickly outgrew its first home as Rosemary explained:
“From one full timer originally, we now have 2.5 full time equivalent and 6 part-time staff, plus a bunch of very dedicated and creative volunteers.
“When we got the opportunity to move to bigger premises, formerly Graham Stewart Silversmith’s iconic shop, at the top of the high street we jumped at the chance.
“We were also very lucky to receive funding from Forth Valley & Lomond LEADER to help restore the original shop frontage at number 30 High Street and have re-opened the original shop as an outlet for local artists to sell their art, jewellery and other crafts, whilst also offering furniture that can be upcycled, and eco paint.
“Plus, we have a fully tuned piano that customers are welcome to play us a tune on.”
Moving to larger premises allowed Rosemary to expand the range of products on offer, particularly from local suppliers. She said “We have organic milk in glass bottles from Mossgiel, fresh eggs from Egglicious and fresh bread from Wild Hearth and Vera Artisan bakeries.
“People can buy what they need and bring their containers to refill rather than be pigeon-holed into the supermarkets’ quantities.
“We source locally where we can and use other community interest companies or cooperatives to supply as many of our products as possible. We have also opened the upstairs of the shop as a small gallery and workshop space.
“Customers love the atmosphere in the shop, and many say it’s a really fabulous shopping experience and I think the location sets us aside from other similar shops in the space.
“We have had brilliant buy-in from the community from day one, with a large number of regular customers who really appreciate being able to buy responsibly and often chat amongst themselves swapping recipe ideas.”
With Covid-19 restrictions easing, Rosemary is hoping to make the most of the extra space.
She said: “We planned to run various workshops, including craft, sewing and wellbeing, but Covid-19 has meant that these are only now coming to fruition. We hope these will build up over the coming months.
“Over the next year we want to consolidate our offering, build up our delivery and click and collect options, and work on creating a small market garden out the back of the shop, initially mainly with herbs and vegetables.
“We also have plans to host artists and makers, as a venue for Forth Valley Art Beat, and hope to have some food tasting sessions at the same time. So watch this space!”
91-95 High Street
9-5 Monday – Saturday
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