The Green Welly Stop has become a traditional and popular stopping point for travellers heading out of Glasgow towards Fort William and the Highlands. Situated on the A82 at Tyndrum, Perthshire, in one of the most beautiful parts of the British Isles, it was formerly known as Clifton Service Station. The name change came from the introduction of a specialist outdoor clothing shop on the premises some years ago - green Wellington boots were, and still are, an integral part of its range.
No longer part of the Green Welly Stop range is Shell, whose role as fuel supplier ended recently after a relationship of more than 20 years. The Green Welly is now a Gulf-supplied outlet and its four million litres a year represents another major gain for Gulf Retail. "Initially it was a surprise to some local people when we changed to Gulf after so many years," explains proprietor Ian Wilkie, who runs the business with his wife Mairi. "But one strong brand has replaced another. The site looks good in its new livery and our new Platts-related deal gives us the benefit of greater price flexibility. It’s a positive move for The Green Welly and our customers. We like the Gulf personnel and we also appreciate that, unlike the majors who are pulling out of the area, Gulf has pledged its long-term commitment to Scotland’s independent forecourts."
The family-run business, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, comprises an eight-pump filling station with large modern shop, coach parking area with two high-speed diesel pumps, specialist outdoor clothing and equipment store, restaurant, whisky and gift store. It is equally important as a rest area/stopping point for motorists and walkers as it is to the local population for fuel, groceries and employment.
The Green Welly employs 85 people, making it one of the largest employers in the area. But its staffing requirements are too great to be achieved from the local population and so, over the years, it has become a temporary home to many overseas visitors who work and live on the premises as part of their travelling experience. The business invests heavily in the welfare and training of its staff and this was recently recognised with the nationally-acclaimed Investors in People Award.
"Our business is very seasonal with walkers and tourists representing a large percentage of our trade," adds filling station manager, David Shaw. "These trends are not just limited to summer and winter but mid-week and weekend. We have to plan our stock levels and staffing carefully - largely based on experience. We have a lot of that - Mairi and Ian are the third generation to run the business.
"The staffing is a highly complex issue. We do not have enough people locally to meet our employment needs so we have to look further afield. In the past, people would come from across the UK and work with us for a season, but it must be a reflection on the changing global environment that today most of our ’out-of-town’ staff come from South Africa and Eastern Europe. They stay for one or two seasons as part of their experience of travelling around Scotland.
"Suitable living accommodation was always a problem for our staff so we built a lodge on the site to make things easier for all concerned. Our business has been built on, and continues to be driven by, meeting the needs of the customer so if our staff are trained and happy it creates the best possible environment to interact with our customers. Add the stunning scenery and it’s not surprising our staff are friendly, helpful and motivated."