Carolyn Wilson at her florist and gift shop, Victoriana, in Alness. Picture by Sandy McCook Each week, we ask small businesses key questions. Here we speak to to Carolyn Wilson, owner of Victoriana Florist & Gifts and three other shops in Alness. How and why did you start in business? I have lived in Alness most of my life. Thirty-one years ago, living on our farm at Dalmore and with young children to raise, I looked for an additional source of family income and opted for a farm shop. Starting with £400 of stock, the business soon grew and I decided to move to Alness High Street and open Victoriana. How did you get to where you are today? The Alness of those days was very different to today. The closure of the Invergordon aluminium smelter in the early 1980s resulted in 890 job losses and hit the town very hard. When Victoriana opened the town and its high street were in the doldrums. I care passionately about my community and it was obvious that we had to act to save Alness for everyone’s benefit. I was delighted to join other businesses, the community as a whole and public agencies in a bid to turn things around. It worked and over the years, led by the business community, we have transformed our high street into a great place to shop, socialise, enjoy special events, and relax. We’ve won numerous confidence-building accolades along the way – Britain in Bloom and the Scottish high street of the year 2018 – as well as regeneration and environmental improvement awards. As the High Street as a whole has become more vibrant, so have its individual businesses and the success has helped everyone, not least me. Today, with the support of countless loyal customers, […]

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