ABOUT LEWIS CROFTERS LTD
Lewis Crofters Ltd is an agricultural co-operative registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act. Established in 1958, the society was set up to supply the crofters on the Island of Lewis with animal feed, fertilisers, fencing and drainage materials and other general requisites, with a view to ensuring that crofting in the island flourished.
Whilst trading methodology has evolved, the basic ethos: to serve the crofting community and be a stabilising influence on crofting supplies and prices, has not altered. The society owns - and operates
from - a single site premises at Island Road Stornoway. The site footprint comprises, retail premises, and adjoining land encompassing car parking, storage buildings, and areas for bulk agricultural stocks.
Lewis Crofters stock everything that crofters could need for their livestock’s nutrition and health. All our feeds are UFAS assured and cover a variety of species. Whilst the majority of our range consists of sheep, cattle & poultry feed, we can source almost any type and have even supplied alpaca feed in the past!
We are licensed to sell POM-VPS and NFA-VPS animal health products and stock a variety of products for sheep, cattle and poultry including wormers, flukicides and topical products as well as mineral applications. We have 4 AMTRA trained staff to advise you on animal health products and their application. Our selection of livestock accessories mean that you should never be stuck, whatever the season, whether it be lambing/calving time or pre-tupping.
A comprehensive choice of fencing and drainage will keep your livestock suitably stock proofed and safe. We source our timber and wire from sustainable UK suppliers and our gates come from the UK’s largest manufacturer of livestock equipment who also manufacture housing, handling and feeding systems for both smallholder and larger farm. Grass and crop management are catered for through a large selection of fertilisers, granulated lime and grass seed. We are able to provide customer quotes for crofters wishing to apply for CCAGS agricultural grants.
When the spring comes around, we provide everything to help you, whether it be growing in your polytunnel/croft or sculpting that lush green lawn. Our range of seeds, plants fertilisers and weed killers mean that only the weather can be to blame for not making a success of the things you grow. We also have all the tools you will need to keep on top of things and make light work of those tough jobs.
If you are looking to keep your house spick and span, we have it covered with a large variety of household cleaning products. For the master chef or baker, we stock a wide range of cookware and disposables to make the tastiest of treats.
We cater for all your pet needs and cover everything from bedding, toys, treats, wormers and a wide variety of feeds. To keep unwanted pests away we have traps, rodenticides and scarers.
With our varied island climate in mind we have a range of clothing to keep you warm whether it be headwear to cover your top storey or socks to keep the toes warm. We offer a range of personal protection clothing for the tougher jobs whether it be a boiler suit or waterproofs for keeping your clothing clean and safety boots for your feet.
We offer every commodity you need to keep your fire stacked in the cold winter months, from your fireside utensils and maintenance products to logs, kindling and coal for your fire. We also offer alternatives such as peat and compressed wood shavings.
How We Got Here
More than half a century ago, a rather tentative meeting was held in the former Museum nan Eilean, Francis Street which is now a base for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s digital teaching E-Sgoil. This was the first recorded meeting of the provisional committee who hoped to set-up an agricultural co-operative community in Lewis.
After years of rationing as a result of the Second World War, talks begun to form an agricultural co-operative, these discussions evolved to consider setting up Lewis Crofters Ltd. The vision was simple, there was a need and a potential for local co-operative society with its own storage to take over the accomplished work of the Scottish Agricultural Society, a voluntary sector organisation founded 103 years ago, in 1905. As secretary of the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society, Mr C.J.M Cadzow took upon himself to explain the worthy advantages setting up a co-operative that would supply materials and supplies to crofters.
To celebrate the opening of the co-operative, a special dinner was held at the County Hotel. Mr Donald Stewart, Provost of Stornoway, highlighted that the opening of Lewis Crofters Ltd was a landmark in agricultural history of the island. He saluted the innovative work of those involved in “this experiment”. The new society were toasted by Mr Stewart as he emphasised the great support offered by the local community. Stornoway Trust had offered the incentive of a £500 prize to the village which would make the greatest progress in horticulture and agriculture. Today this prize money, would be worth around £8000-£9000.
It so happened, that the opening of Lewis Crofters Ltd’s first building coincided with a visit by members of the North of Scotland Agriculture College. This resulted in Mr Matthew Campbell, the secretary of the Department of Agriculture for Scotland, opening the new premises on Inaclete Road. At the opening, he was optimistic that increased farming of cattle would be a key attribute for the crofter’s plans.
“If they could produce beef stores in numbers and quality, they would serve the country as a whole and would be building up the fertility of their common grazing’s which has, perhaps, suffered by being grazed by too many sheep”.
He reminded that it would not always be plain sailing for the co-operative as there has been previously a lack of support throughout the Highlands and Islands, however, Mr Campbell was otherwise convinced. He believed that Lewis Crofters Ltd had favourable support from the local community and their neighbours, the Isle of Harris. Mr Campbell’s viewpoint is somewhat current to the success of Lewis Crofters Ltd today.
“Well, well, well” the bodach said “Who would have believed that one day I would have my own shop on Cromwell Street”.
The opening of the Cromwell Street shop was a great achievement for the company. General manager Colin F Macdonald, assistant manager Angus Stewart and their staff were responsible for this success, as they continued supplying agricultural products at the main premises on Island Road. Cromwell Street was set-up to accommodate the overall community, not just the crofters. With the variety of goods which the store had to offer, Lewis Crofters Ltd became renowned for its great finds - a reputation we like to think we still have today.
You can see some pictures from our history below:
MEET THE TEAM
STEVEN MACPHAIL - MANAGER
Steven has over 20 years of experience in Retail Management having worked with several retailers in the Highlands & Islands. Steven has been the manager of Lewis Crofters since November 2021.
There are 13 members on the Board currently which comprises a Chair and a Vice Chair. At the present time the board is made up of the following people:
Norman Maciver (Chair)
Calum George Buchannan
They are instrumental to the vision and progress of the Cooperative.
Since Lewis Crofters Ltd founded as a Cooperative in 1958 membership has always played a significant part of the organisations make-up. In the early years members joined through a £1 share offering and the organisation had thousands of members from every community throughout Lewis and Harris.
In 2020 Lewis Crofters will re-visit membership and create a suite of benefits to encourage membership in the society and loyalty amongst its current customer base as their first choice for agricultural supplies.
Thanks for your interest in Lewis Crofters Ltd. For more information, get in touch with us. We look forward to hearing from you.
Island Road, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, HS1 2RD