Patti Smith Reveals the Secret of Business SuccessNeil Hardie
Angus businesswoman Patti Smith has a simple piece of advice for any young person wanting to become an entrepreneur: “Keep at it.”
She has now run Smithies Deli and Gin Emporium in Arbroath for 22 years and has built it into a popular operation, employing 11 staff.
In that time it has successfully come through challenges such as the Covid pandemic – and continues to pull the customers in.
Patti has had a varied career, starting out at 17 in the wages department of Halliburton.
When she was in her 20s, she left to join father Donald in the family-run hotel in the town – the Cliffburn.
It was after selling the hotel in 2000 that she bought a vacant property in Keptie Street.
This became home to the Smithies deli/coffee shop,
Since then, the expansion of the venture has included making its own gin.
Patti said: “When the Scottish gin trade started growing, my daughters Beth and Jill and I decided to give it a go.
“We were so passionate about Scottish gin – and love to drink it too.
“We also wanted to create a local gin and incorporate my late dad into it too.”
The Smithies site has been growing recently.
Patti explained: “We had the opportunity to purchase the building next door to us in May and have now expanded the eatery side of the business as we were beginning to outgrow our current shop for both the deli and eatery.”
The businesswoman was delighted to say Smithies has been well supported by the local community during these recent uncertain times.
Cheese and wine are among the most popular items with customers in the deli, while drinks and platters are selling well on the eatery side.
Patti said the best thing about being her own boss is being able to make her own decisions.
And the worst thing is having the sole responsibility to keep the business thriving when times are difficult.
One of the highlights of her career to date has been being able to watch Smithies grow from the very beginning.
The arrival of Covid on these shores at the start of this decade did have a big impact on the Keptie Street operation initially.
The businesswoman explained: “It stopped us in our tracks at the very beginning, but it let us realise we needed to rethink how we operated – which turned out for the better, as we reshaped our deli and the eatery part of the business into what it is today.”
What drives Patti as an entrepreneur?
She responded: “The passion my dad had for hospitality has always been my drive.”
And what is her advice to any young person wanting to be an entrepreneur?
“Keep at it. Even when times are tough, it will work out somehow. Make sure you have a good support network around you.”
So what has made Smithies stand out from competitors in the town since it started trading?
Patti said: “In the 22 years since opening, we have always had a drive to do something a bit different for the town – for example, themed evenings for food and drink for customers to come and enjoy.
“We also try to source local/independent stock that isn’t supplied to supermarkets.”
Patti said it also very important to understand the requirements of customers.
Looking to the future, the businesswoman is hoping that Smithies continues to be as successful in the years to come.