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Go remote to run store

Gift shop on uninhabited St Kilda that greets 5,000 visitors a year needs convener


A GIFT SHOP at “the edge of the world” on St Kilda needs someone new to run it – but you don’t have to live on the uninhabited island 40 miles north-west of the Outer Hebrides.

The Scotsman newspaper reported that the tiny store has a £50,000 annual turnover selling souvenirs and postcards to the 5,000-plus visitors who venture to Village Bay on the main island of Hirte on the St Kilda archipelago.
Owned by St Kilda Club, they need a new convener as member Rob Gower has stepped down after five years sourcing stock, managing accounts and working with suppliers from his base in Hampshire, 700 miles away.
He visited the island and Scotland’s most remote shop only at the start of the season each year to make sure the shop was set up correctly, introducing an electronic stock management system to keep the shelves full.
Julie Hunt, chairwoman of St Kilda Club, said: “We have now got an electronic till and it makes running the shop a lot easier, it means the job can really be done from home. It really is about making sure the logistics are in place to run the ship.
“Our turnover is up to around £50,000 a year and all the profits go to National Trust for Scotland to support their work on St Kilda.
“Rob went up to St Kilda at the start of every season and for many that would be a massive perk of the job.”
There was a community on the islands for 4,000 years but the population gradually declined and in 1930 the final 36 residents asked to be evacuated.
There is now only a small military base and seasonal occupation by National Trust for Scotland staff, and volunteers who man the store when visitors arrive with Kilda Cruises – who also deliver new stock for the shop.
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