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Attractive Cafe And Gift Shop With Owners Accommodation For Sale

Helmsdale, Highland, UK
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• Charming café and gift shop situated by the harbour in the historic fishing village of Helmsdale.

• Prominent trading location in a splendid coastal setting within a popular tourist destination.

• Simple business operation set to around 30 seats and spacious retail sales area extending to circa 96m2.

• Service areas / facilities include a small kitchen and WCs plus a burger van.

• Extensive first floor area extending to 111.57m2 providing owners accommodation currently comprising of a bedroom and lounge, with further development potential.

• Ample on-road parking and external seating area to the front aspects.

Property Information



Living Accommodation:

The vendors have recently developed the first floor to provide private accommodation for owners. This unit currently comprises a lounge and bedroom, there are plans to also build a kitchen and additional bedroom. There is further development potential within this space.


Helmsdale is a Sutherland coastal village steeped in history and with a strong maritime tradition. The village boasts a good level of local amenities for both visitors and residents. The area has an association with Viking history and attracts a great many tourists. The village is renowned for its gold panning at Kildonan and the Timespan visitor attraction depicts the regions diverse history. The village has approximately 750 inhabitants and is one of the main centres of population in Sutherland. It also has an excellent links golf course and is in easy reach of the famous course at Royal Dornoch which lies to the south. The region is also renowned for its whisky production, with distilleries in Brora, Wick and Tain.

Slightly further afield the Falls of Shin and Dunrobin Castle provide an interesting day out. Touring and genealogy are other favourite pastimes, together with the prospect to visit nearby Scottish castles and other historic sites. These attractions combined with the varied natural scenic beauty of the surrounding area make it highly popular with a wide range of visitors and tourists. For the outdoor enthusiast the Highlands of Scotland are famous for spectacular scenery and rugged mountains, a reputation which is comfortably upheld by Helmsdale. The wonderful un-spoilt scenery of the famous coastline and surrounding hills combine to make this a most attractive area.

For walkers the beautiful Sutherland terrain offers varied degrees of challenge from the more leisurely hillwalking to more stretching mountaineering. A wide range of birdlife attracts the ornithologist and the area has a huge appeal to the naturalist. The local rivers appeal to large numbers of sports fishermen looking to net trout or salmon. Additionally, in the vicinity there are many self-catering accommodation providers, hotels and guest houses whose patrons in-turn generate trade for all the services supported by The Garrison.

Premises Details:

The Garrison is a quirky lifestyle business set within a semi-detached harbour front property, dating from the mid-1800s. Set in an easy-to-locate trading position within the village of Helmsdale, the café and shop benefit from a stunning coastal outlook. Both the café and retail aspects are deceptively spacious offering a flexible trading space providing excellent scope for further business development. Situated on the ground floor with street level access, both aspects provide a total net internal area of c96m2. The building has a spacious first floor which was previous utilised as storage and has undergone recent development into an accommodation unit, now comprising a lounge and bedroom. This space could be used for resident operators or as a holiday rental unit. The accommodation has potential to be developed further and there are plans to add a kitchen plus a further bedroom.

Currently operating year-round, the business generates income mainly from the sale of beverages and snacks but is becoming a more established destination venue for those looking for gifts and knitwear items. There is a demand from local residents and the influx of tourists during the main season (Apr – Oct) meaning there is scope to trade to a higher level. Within the main season there may also be demand for opening 7 days a week, plus an evening meal service or an increase in the range of catering options available. The present configuration of the café allows for up to 30 customers but there is some capacity to increase covers by reconfiguring the layout of the retail aspects. This new business is generating a sound reputation locally and there is scope to increase trade further with greater marketing etc. The business is located on the North Coast 500 which is drawing an increasing number of visitors to the Highlands.

The building is a 2-storey property of stone construction under a front to back slope roof dating from the mid-1800s. From a prominent roadside location adjacent to the harbour, the business has a prominent and well-signed frontage with street level access. The customer entrance is via a conservatory through French doors which is set to free-standing tables and chairs plus sofas. A doorway opening leads to the main customer area which has a servery and a range of retail display units. There are also tables and chairs. To the left is a further room set with retail items. To the right of the main sales area are customer WCs and a kitchen area. The total internal aspects of the café and retail spaces etc. extend to c96m2. The property is in a transitional period and as such new owners may wish to invest into the development of the property as detailed in the planning referred to previously. The customer areas are set to tables and chairs to comfortably seat 30 covers; there is undoubted scope to expand seating capacity should new owners wish to do so. The small kitchen provides an adequate area to prepare basic café fayre but the current owners also use a burger van as a food preparation platform. The first-floor unit has been converted into owners’ accommodation currently comprising a lounge and bedroom with plans to extend the space to include a kitchen and further bedroom. The approximate internal area is 111m2. Access to this unit is via external concrete steps.

The Garrison is a substantial property with a large footprint. The subjects extend towards the full frontage of the whole building and there are tables and chairs for customer use to the front. The subjects are bounded by a stone wall to the front elevation. Customer parking is by public parking spaces immediately opposite the café; there is private parking to the rear. There is a mobile catering van which is also on site and is included in the sale price.

The property benefits from mains electricity, water and drainage. The business is fully fire compliant, meets all environmental health requirements and has Wi-Fi.

Business Operation

Reasons for selling:

The building was purchased by the vendor in 2016 and it is due to a change of family circumstances that brings this desirable business to the market.

Other Information

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