Address Hilltop Horses Ltd, 10/12 Kirk Lane Wick, Caithness KW1 4NN, Scotland, UK
Telephone: 01955 605065, Mob:07734665166
Success comes in threes for Mairi Anne
‘Doing my business degree really inspired me and I was desperate to start my own business – and now all of a sudden I’m here’
It has been a hectic three years for the winner of this year’s Caithness Chamber of Commerce George Bruce Young Entrepreneur of the Year award, Mairi Anne Cormack.
But it has also been a hugely successful period for the 28-year-old mum from Canisbay who now runs three businesses in Caithness – Hilltop Horses Ltd, which has Hilltop Horse & Country shop in Wick as well as a feed and bedding delivery service throughout the county and Hilltop Holiday Home, John O Groats.
Mairi Anne has barely had time to sit back and take in her impressive achievements but has been quick to praise all those around her who have supported her venture.
Main Anne says: “I have very loyal customers and I thank them for all their support – I hope this award makes them proud – and Lesley Davidson the RBS business bank manager in Wick but also my husband Sandy, my parents, and my pa rents-in-law.
“I’m delighted to get the award and it has inspired me to try to gain more.”
2008 now seems a long time ago for Mairi Anne but it was the year when her business dreams began to come together.
A business graduate from Robert Gordon University, Mairi Anne spent two years working at Thainstone Mart near Aberdeen before heading north working at Dingwall Mart. A year later she moved back to Caithness where she was employed at Dounreay.
It was while back in her home county that she struck on the idea of going into business for herself.
Access to feed and other equestrian products was proving limited so Mairi Anne investigated the local market and began sourcing and then delivering items herself.
Clearly there was a strong demand for her delivery services as the fledgling home business, soon to become Hilltop Horses, turned over a significant amount of feed and products to indicate there was scope to develop.
“People were shouting out for an alternative model for feed supply, I explained Mairi Anne who hadn’t initially contemplated retailing feed.
Over 2009 and 2010 she built up the feed business, opened a holiday let property, Hilltop Holiday Home, got married and started a family while managing to keep the businesses running with support from husband Sandy. Despite her family commitments, the feed business enjoyed an even busier winter than the year before.
However, operating it from home was far from ideal so when the opportunity came up East year to take over the reins of another equestrian business in Wick, Mairi Anne took the plunge.
In October 2010, Hilltop Horses Ltd was formalised and in January 2011, Mairi Anne opened her third business Hilltop Horse & Country shop selling equestrian equipment, clothing, pet food and other supplies – the perfect accompaniment to the feed delivery service.
Mairi Anne was proven right and seen the turnover of now, Hilltop Horses Ltd, increase ten fold since Hilltop Horse & Country opened in Wick.
Although running three businesses means a lot of hard work, Mairi Anne has been delighted by her progress especially with the feed delivery service which boasts a fast growing but loyal customer base and the shop which is exceeding projections in only its first year.
In the near future she hopes to employ a full-time van driver to help with deliveries and free up her own time to look at new ideas for the business such as the loyalty scheme for customers which she has introduced.
The next few years will be spent growing the three businesses steadily but in the longer term she hopes to develop a tourism-related enterprise to add to the Hilltop franchise.
Mairi Anne has certainly come a long way in just three years.
She added: “Doing my business degree really inspired me and I was desperate to start my own business – and now all of a sudden I’m here”As you visit ‘Hilltop Horses Ltd’, you may find interest in following listings . . .