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The economic uncertainty caused by Brexit has been blamed for the closure of Isle of Skye Chocolate.
The Uig-based company, which supplied shops around the island and ran an online mail order service, announced last week on social media that it will be ceasing operations.
The couple behind the business said price hikes caused by Brexit uncertainty has caused ‘irreparable damage’ to the business, which imports its raw materials from Europe.
The company said it was unable to run profitably in ‘these trying conditions’ and reluctantly took the decision to close permanently.
The company also thanked its customers and suppliers for their loyalty and support.
Owner Angus MacRuary said: ‘With Brexit looming we just did not feel we could commit to more investment and so held off, and held off, and held off, feeling in limbo the whole time. After three years of uncertainty – and another price increase from our suppliers – we decided we couldn’t justify the hours we were working for very little return.’
Mr MacRuary took over Skye Chocolate in 2015 when he sold his previous business, Isle of Skye Brewery. Joined by his partner Pam, the pair had built up a strong following, supplying around 20 shops on Skye, along with the mail order service. Operating out of a large garage next to their house, the couple also ran chocolate-making courses and opened a small retail area.
Mr MacRuary explained: ‘The first inkling we had had of an uncertain future was after the Brexit vote in 2016 when, as a result of the immediate fall in the value of the pound against the euro, our suppliers increased their prices for our raw materials by 10 per cent. We had no option but to swallow this as we had already given our customers their prices for the season and did not want to inconvenience them.
‘Six months later, we had another 10 per cent increase imposed. At that point we increased our own prices by 10 per cent with a mixed response from our customers.
‘If there is a no deal Brexit and the UK trades on WTO rules, then we will be hit by a further increase of between 10 per cent and 20 per cent in our raw material costs, depending upon type of chocolate.’
Mrs MacRuary now works as a part-time relief postie on the islands, while, for the moment, Mr MacRuary has accepted retirement.