“We set up 18 years ago with a single but simple philosophy,” says Managing Director Alastair Clark, “which was to provide the best possible products to top quality restaurants and shops across Scotland. Despite the passage of time, that philosophy has not changed.”

We are probably best known for our range of Artisan Cheese and we supply to most of the top shops and the majority of top restaurants and hotels. Alastair adds, “Back in our early 20s my wife Jill and I started a delicatessen business in Edinburgh; after seven years we sold it and I went to work for one of our suppliers, but my wife and I, together with an ex-employee, then set up on our own. Six years ago we went back into retail but the shop was too small and took up too much management time and we closed it one year ago and are now about to open an on-line shop. We believe that there is potentially a great market for those fine ingredients that are normally only available to the trade; we can break down the large packs into smaller pack sizes ideal for the home chef. Our full range of cheese and accompaniments will be the first to go live and this will quickly be followed by an extensive range of gourmet foods and ingredients for the home chef.”
The company prides itself on its service. Orders that come in during the day are made up overnight and are sent out the following day.

Clarks work with a large number of specialist suppliers, including specialist importers, British producers and cheese makers. The company now has a long track record and so many suppliers come to them. Indeed, Alastair claims to have been in at the birth of every Scottish cheese bar one – quite a claim! But, Clarks sell not only cheese but also charcuterie, wild mushrooms, olives, oils and vinegars, foie gras and caviar, Valrhona chocolate and patisserie products.

At the moment, Clarks supply to virtually the whole of Scotland plus the north of England. The aim in the near future is to expand their net even further. Alastair says that they are looking to encourage cheese shops throughout the UK to expand their range of cheeses and, in particular the Scottish cheeses. “Currently we employ about 35 people in our 9,000ft2 premises that we moved into about 18 months ago. Because of our location in Penicuik, on the outskirts of Edinburgh, this city is our largest market, together with the central belt of Scotland. We are starting our on-line shop and updating our website but essentially it is the retail sector that represents our biggest growth potential. We are starting to work with Wholefoods Market, an American company that has just opened its first store outside of London and are opening a big store in Glasgow in November 2011.

“For us, the future lies in doing what we do well and in endeavouring to do even that a bit better. We may well look to move into the export markets and to promote the best of Scottish food, especially its cheese.”

For further information please telephone
0844 335 6908 or visit www.clarksfoods.co.uk

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