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Community spirit sees Bute business through its first winter

Rachel McGinlay took over Simply Buteiful in 2022 after trading the city for Island life.

Independent Isle of Bute home and gift shop Simply Buteiful has thanked the community – and the region’s local gift card initiative – for helping it to stay open through the winter.

Rachel McGinlay served in the police force in Coventry for 28 years before moving to the Isle of Bute to be closer to family, taking over Simply Buteiful in October 2022.

The Rothesay business is one of over 300 businesses who are part of the Scotland Loves Local Argyll and Bute Gift Card, with over £2,300 in spend at Simply Buteiful to date.

Argyll and Bute Council distributed £120 Argyll and Bute Gift Cards to over 6000 low-income households in December 2022, an initiative that Rachel says encouraged people through the door and helped her business to survive:

“Island businesses are very reliant on tourists. Income generated over the summer is usually what sustains the business in the leaner months. In my first winter, I wasn’t sure what to expect and I have so appreciated the support I’ve had from locals. The Argyll and Bute Gift Card going out was just fantastic as it gave people the opportunity to come in and treat themselves to anything from a set of glasses to a throw or a book.

“As an Island business under new ownership, the gift card has given people a push to try us out and has opened up a whole new clientele for us. Lots of these people have become not only regular customers, but good friends, and that has been an absolute lifeline for my business. If I haven’t got something in stock, I’ll order it in, and that’s something people are asking for more and more.

“Tourism is great but locals are everything to small businesses; the gift card has opened my eyes to that and I think it has opened people’s eyes to what is available locally too. Money is tight for people right now, and the distribution of the cards has taken the pressure off for people. Even the food stores accept the cards, so it could be used on week’s shopping or on a little treat.

“I’ve had really favourable comments from people in the shop spending their Argyll and Bute Gift Cards. Not only has it helped businesses like mine to survive but it has made a real difference to people’s lives, meaning they have been able to buy things they perhaps wouldn’t ordinarily have been able to buy.”

The change of pace offered by Island life is also being appreciated by new business owner Rachel who adds:

“Running the shop is completely different to my old life in the police force where I was working 60 hours a week. Shops here open at 10am, so it’s a leisurely drive to work, the chance to see the beautiful sea. It’s idyllic. On an Island like Bute, community really is everything and I feel fortunate to have been welcomed into the community, and to have a chance to play my part in the success of Bute.”

Councillor Alastair Redman, policy lead for economy growth and communities, said:

“After a challenging few years for local businesses, it’s great to see the gift card making a difference across Argyll and Bute and helping to support the local economy. Not only does the card help businesses, it also supports local employment. Thank you to everyone who continues to shop local.

“We have had a great response from businesses signing up to the scheme. If you’re looking for a unique present, I would encourage you to buy a gift card and give someone a fantastic range of shops, restaurants, services and experiences to choose from.”

The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card initiative was introduced in 2021 as a means to direct spend to local communities, and power economic recovery, delivered by Scotland’s Town Partnership (STP) and Perth based fintech Miconex.

Scotland’s Towns Partnership chief officer Kimberley Guthrie said:

“It’s great to see a local business like Simply Buteiful enjoy the benefits of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card. This pioneering initiative encourages people to think, choose and spend locally – empowering businesses across the islands to sustain and grow all year round. The Scotland Loves Local Gift Card is a gift to the whole community.”

Colin Munro is the managing director of Miconex and said:

“It’s fantastic to see the difference that the Scotland Loves Local Argyll and Bute Gift Card is making to businesses like Simply Buteiful, putting much needed cash into the till to help the business to survive but also having a long term impact by encouraging a shop local ethos.”

Further information about the distribution of the £120 Scotland Loves Local Argyll and Bute Gift Cards can be found at: and businesses can sign up to accept the card for free at: