The Argyll Smokery is a traditional artisan fish smoke house independently owned and operated by couple Karen Baxter and Allan McDougall, who met over 20 years ago whilst working at another fish smokehouse. The business is built on the belief that no machine can ever replace the quality control of skilled craftspeople, which is why each process is carried out entirely by hand in small singular batches using the Argyll Smokery Signature Cure.
After developing their smoking techniques, Karen and Allan finally decided to take the plunge and start their own venture in March 2010, when they received their first loan from DSL of £25,000. DSL approved this loan under the EFG scheme (Enterprise Finance Guarantee scheme is provided by British Business Bank) to start their business. In May 2013, they approached DSL again for a loan of £30,000 mainly to finance the purchase of their business premises. DSL approved this loan under the West of Scotland Regeneration Fund. The support they received from DSL was fundamental for them at time as they were declined by the bank for not having a deposit to put towards the purchase.
The Argyll Smokery is a small team with 3 full-time and 2 part-time employees and has recently set up an ecommerce website This has already generated additional mail order business and has an attractive Facebook presence with great feedback from customers. The business has been recognised for excellence in the industry and has won many food awards including the Great Taste Awards, Quality Food Awards and Highland & Island Food Awards and is SALSA accredited.
The Argyll Smokery has been shortlisted in the Microentrepreneur Award for Sustainability category for the global Citi Microentrepreneurship Awards 2017/18.