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Sweet Smell of Success For Sandy

19th February 2004

A Brora man has started a quirky new business which aims to capitalise on people's sense of smell for nostalgia - and the idea could have come from a famous cartoon character!

Aimed at the thousands of tourists who visit Scotland every year in search of their ancestors, Sandy Crawford's business - Peat Reek Limited - manufactures and sells small cones made from local peat, which people can burn in their homes to remind them of their Scottish connections. Sandy is also selling cones with a distinctive Scots Pine aroma.

Sandy's business idea reflects a series of 'Angus Og' cartoons where the loveable West Coaster attempts to bottle the smell of burning peat and sell it to tourists, under the brand name 'Peat Reek'.

HIE-Starts assistance from Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise (CASE), which includes a funding package totalling 4,100, has helped Sandy Crawford get his venture off the ground. HIE-Starts is a European funded, Network-wide initiative designed to help new businesses by providing valuable business advice and a regular income for the first twelve months of trading, usually the most difficult time for fledgling businesses.

Sandy has already received a considerable amount of interest in his "Smells of Home" range from tourist shops on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and the Scotch Whisky Centre, where there is a great belief that the aroma of burning peat is the perfect complement to a dram. Sandy also intends to target gift shops throughout Scotland, craft centres, airports and heritage centres. He also plans to make use of the internet to gain access to ex-pat Scots by advertising his products on various Caledonian Society websites.

Commenting on his new venture, Sandy Crawford said: "I have been developing this business idea for the past six years so it is great to finally get Peat Reek started. Smells definitely stir up memories or emotions in people, and not everyone has an open fire in their homes or even access to peat, so I think these cones will prove very popular.

"Although a fan of the Angus Og cartoons, I'm not sure if that is where the inspiration came from. Maybe subliminally it did!"

Business development manager at CASE, Colin Ritchie said: "This is an innovative and unique business to Scotland which we feel has enough novelty value to be a real success."