Outer Hebrides business The Temple Cafe set to expand and create jobs
The Temple Café, an Outer Hebrides business which has gone from strength to strength since lockdown as a result of the owner’s unique approach to using local produce, is delivering an eco-friendly expansion with support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).
The Temple Café is a bakery and deli business built near the remains of an old stone temple in Northton, South Harris.
Temple Harris Ltd is owned by Amanda Saurin who relocated to Harris, from Sussex with her husband Julian after buying the café and the croft across the road in 2019.
Ms Saurin very quickly started running out of space in the café since reopening last year following restrictions. She said: “I started looking around for another building and found one in Leverburgh that had been empty for a few years. This additional building, which is not too far from our current Northton café, will allow us to grow the business and offer more food and drink ranges from locally sourced produce. We are delighted with the support received from HIE for our expansion project.”
The company secured up to £124,834 from HIE to develop and bring back into use the building in Leverburgh, ten minutes away from Northton.
Temple Café has enjoyed a successful season under the new management and five people are currently employed there. It is expected that once the Leverburgh building is converted, six new jobs will be created.
The new building will offer the extra space Amanda needs to launch the coffee roastery, smokery and for food preparation as well as to expand the drinks range.
A new non-alcoholic drink was recently launched by Amanda called Wild Eve. The drink is made from ingredients such as roses, oats tops and honeysuckle, which is harvested from her croft, and some sugar kelp seaweed from the nearby shore. The product is already proving popular with customers.
Everything available at Temple Café is made by hand using locally sourced botanicals, including the range of baked goods, jams, teas and even beauty products.
Before moving to Harris, Ms Saurin had been looking at botanicals and researching what they could offer in terms of flavour. She has worked with the Isle of Harris Distillery as part of her previous apothecary business for several years and was a frequent visitor to the island.
The business has a large focus on low carbon and Amanda is committed to using eco-friendly products. All the packaging used is compostable. She plans to charge a small deposit for cups made from discarded husks of coffee beans and on return of the cups.
While expanding the business, Amanda is keen to help reduce the number of vehicles that drive through Northton. She plans to offer bikes that people can cycle from the main road to the café, offering a discount as an incentive. She will also encourage the use of electric charging vehicles and plans to erect rapid charging points.
Gordon Macdonald, account manager at HIE, added: “This exciting project adds to the rich variety and high-quality food and drink offering found in Harris. There is growing interest in products that use local ingredients and promote product provenance. Providing year-round jobs in South Harris is great news and I am very pleased we have been able to provide support.”