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Couple’s ‘labour of love’ transforms long-standing East Neuk of Fife store

Owner Joanna Stewart outside the Beehive Crail.
Owner Joanna Stewart outside the Beehive Crail.

A long-established general store in the East Neuk of Fife has been transformed to an eco-friendly cafe and gift shop.

Owners Joanne and Iain Stewart have given the Beehive Crail a new lease of life.

They will be offering visitors local art along with speciality coffee, light lunches, home baking and locally produced ice cream.

Originally from County Durham, Joanne came for a weekend to Scotland 31 years ago and stayed, then met and married Iain.

The couple took a leap of faith when they bought the Beehive during lockdown.

Since then, they’ve started work on the former historic coach house in Crail in February 2021.

Inspired by local community

They have restored the character of the building to reflect its heritage, using reclaimed materials where possible and stripping back the interior to the expose its original features.

The original features came out when the couple started refurbishing the shop.

Joanne said: “This has truly been a labour of love for us.

“We have fallen in love with living in Crail and the beautiful East Neuk coast.

“We felt it was important to offer goods produced locally in the cafe and gift shop.

“The support shown by the local community has spurred us on to create something really special in the village.”

Joanne and Iain had originally planned to open last summer, but supply issues coupled with the pandemic and availability of tradespeople, prompted them to delay the opening for a few months.

The couple has worked on the Beehive Crail since February 2021.

During the coming summer, The Beehive Crail will focus on eco-friendly products.

It will offer plastic-free beach toys and hire out buckets, spades, crab lines, nets, handmade bellyboards and other beachy items.

The Beehive Crail ‘something to be proud of’

Business Gateway Fife business adviser Alasdair Busby has provided wide-ranging advice and support to the couple.

Alasdair said: “The website and social media presence required development and we secured an excellent digital boost support for strategy for the business.

“Joanne and Iain have also been referred to Zero Waste Scotland as they aim to reduce their carbon footprint as much as possible.”

Inside the Beehive Crail cafe and gift shop.

Joanne said they are “enormously grateful” for the support from Business Gateway Fife, as well as the local community.

She said: “We hope that The Beehive Crail will become something to be proud of and honour Crail’s fine past.”

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