Member of the Week - Fionnar Springs
Having had a very varied career –among other things, a herd tester in Australia (testing milk for butter fat content), a youth hostel warden in Cannich, starting a business selling hairdressing products in the south of Scotland, Alex Farquhar, MD of Fionnar Springs, then purchased a large house in Drumnadrochit and extended it to become a hotel with 60 bedrooms. Having always been a keen violin player, many ceilidh nights were had, which were very well attended and great fun. During this time, Alex bought a farm above Drumnadrochit, and moved there when he sold the hotel. Alex noticed there was always a big pool of water in one of the fields – icy cold in summer, and never frozen in winter. Alex then had this tested, and the test results came back showing very pure water. The water is filtered by the rocks in the hills above Loch Ness and such springs account for less than 0.1% of all the water in the world, making this water very special – it also has a beautiful taste! In 1986, Alex then decided to build a bottling plant and supply this water in the north of Scotland. The water passes through both manual and UV filters, but there are no additives – it is just pure water. Alex chose the name “Fionnar” which means “cool and clear” in Gaelic. Fionnar Springs is now a friendly, hard-working team of 5.
Alex told us more about how he grew the business: “The business grew steadily, and I went with a team round the area selling the product. We originally sold small bottles, but were unable to compete with the big companies, and so changed to 19 litre bottles and supplying water coolers. This proved popular, and we were happy to provide a friendly and efficient service to our customers. We remain a family firm and our very helpful team provide water, coolers and servicing from Wick to Newtonmore, and from Oban and Skye to Peterhead – there are some very long days on occasions! We supply businesses, homes, offices and isolated sites throughout the area and remain committed to providing a first class service.”
We asked Alex why he would like Fionnar Springs to feature as Member of the Week: “We supply to a good range of businesses, but feel there are a number more who would benefit from having a cooler and our special water on site. Drinking plenty of water is very beneficial to health and wellbeing, but slightly warm or treated water can be rather off putting, whereas good chilled water is a joy to drink.”
Alex shared with us his business plans for the next 12 months: “Having installed a new bottling plant a couple of years ago, and exchanged our old and trusted forklift for an electric version, we are now looking to expand the business further, reaching out to local customers as well as those further afield.”
We asked Alex what Fionnar Springs values most about its Chamber Membership: “It is often difficult to keep up to date with all the latest developments, in technology, rules and regulations etc. and so information from the Chamber of Commerce is most helpful for both local and national issues. The opportunity to meet with other Chamber members in a relaxed atmosphere is very helpful.”
Alex provided his top-tip for Chamber members to get the most out of their membership: “Speak to your Chamber members to find the ways in which they can help.”