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Stornoway's last Scots-Italian café, the Coffee Pot, is set to close

A Stornoway institution is set to close its doors, as the Coffee Pot,   the last Scots-Italian run café in the Western Isles, has finally been sold by the family who run it. 

Published: February 26, 2016
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It’s the end of a near 100-year-old era as the Scaramuccia family, owners Peter and his wife Marie, close the store for good today (Friday 26th February).

Mr Scaramuccia admitted to being 'very emotional' following the decision to sell, after enjoying being part of the family trade for nearly all of his life.

Peter, who started in the family trade, helping out in the old Lido café in Cromwell Street - a popular haunt with Stornoway teenagers in its day, told the Hebrides News: “I feel very sad. I will miss our customers and all the people from over the years.

“Our family and staff would like to thank them all for their custom and support through the decades.”

Mr Scaramuccia - who will hold onto the family recipe of his famed freshly made ice cream - added: “I have good memories and some enjoyable times working, having a good craic with customers.”

“It was lots of great fun and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

“I didn’t really want to sell but I got an offer I couldn’t refuse.”

But “things are not the same now in Stornoway like the way they were."

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Pointing out that the town centre, which had previously been bustling with many more small independently-own businesses ten or so years ago, was now far quieter and saw fewer visitors these days.

The Hebrides have a rich history of Italian heritage, which can be traced back four generations to when families such as the Cabrellis and Scaramuccias joined a wave of immigrants leaving Italy in search of work and a better life in Scotland.

Indeed Peter's Grandfather, Luigi, was one of the very first Italians to arrive in Lewis, coming to the island just after WW1. As an national from an enemy state in World War II, he was interred in the Isle of Man for the duration of hostilities.

Peter's mother, Mary Cabrelli, was born in Stornoway from another well-known Italian family while his father, Louie, was born in Italy. They met while in college in Italy. Both graduated as teachers but opted to continue the catering business in Lewis, running the Lido café in Stornoway.

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Peter learn the business from his parents and choose to carry on the tradition when he and Marie got married 42 years ago, buying premises which used to be a sweet shop on Kenneth Street beside the local cinema.

However trade in the town centre, like many across the country, has declined dramatically with more people opting to shop in the supermarkets or over the internet, resulting in less footfall in the commercial heart of the town.

"It’s a hard decision but due to the economic circumstances of the island I feel this is the right time to retire,” he said.

The new owner is said to plans to convert the premises into a decorator's shop.

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