40 years on, Oban business is a true family firm

Family: Front Catriona MacFarlane and Owen Hoey; back L-R John, Claire and James.JPG

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A prominent Oban business celebrates its 40th birthday next month and remains a true Oban family-run firm in every sense of the word.

Of its 12 staff based in the town, Hamish Hoey and Son Limited, has no fewer than six family members involved and said it has been a ‘privilege and honour’ serving the community for four decades.

Its sites encompass the long-standing funeral directors office on Stevenson Street and its joinery unit Scotwest Windows and The Glass Shed on Mill Lane.

Hamish Hoey & Son at Mill Lane, left to right, John, Owen and James.

It’s a far cry from the business’ origins in 1981 from a modest ‘tin shed’ near Stoddarts.

Hamish, now 84, and Teresa, aged 79, had seven children, four girls and three boys.

Early in his career, Hamish worked with Oban’s MacDonald & Coulson Joiners & Funeral Directors.

The couple ended up establishing Hamish Hoey & Son Ltd in August 1981 with a move to its Stevenson Street premises coming two years later. Teresa was an integral part of its success by handling the office side.

The couple remained involved in the business until their retirement in 2003, although both remain on as consultants.

All three sons Owen, aged 54; James, aged 50; and John, aged 49, served their time under their father to qualify as joiners, but today help out in various roles.

James tends to work as the main funeral director with John overseeing the joinery side and Owen in the office.

Sister Catriona too, now a MacFarlane, joined in 2002, going full time the following year and is a funeral arranger.

Her son James MacFarlane, aged 26, is also a qualified joiner for the family business.

Sister-in-law Claire married the youngest brother John and manages the office.

Eldest son Owen started in 1981 and after time away in the city and working around Britain he returned and said the business had evolved over the last four decades.

Hoey brothers John, Owen and James.

Scotwest Windows and its domestic double glazing and windows installations now represent a major part of the business, with its joinery firm concentrating on smaller works such as fitted kitchens and doors to small renovations, repairs and maintenance.

The company said: ‘As skilled joiners, we are pleased to have been in the position of offering apprenticeships to young people wishing to become joiners.

‘We have done so for many years and currently employ two apprentice joiners.

‘Owen, James and John thank their dedicated and friendly staff, their family for continued support and all their customers throughout the years.’

Owen, whose own two sons worked in the firm until last year, added: ‘Dad and Mum and the family are all very proud with it being 40 years. Being funeral directors, the business becomes a very well-known name in the town.’

Catriona added: ‘I love my job and helping people at the most difficult time of their lives.’

Of the big anniversary, she said: ‘I think it’s the fact it’s very much a family business. We have always had to move with the times and we’re still here despite all the challenges. From the feedback we get about our personal service, it’s a firm that’s still very well respected to this day.’