The new owners of a country store are declaring war on Shetland’s fuel costs by slashing around 20p off a litre of petrol and diesel for one day a month.
Scott and Phoebe Preston moved up to Shetland last month to run Tagon Stores in Voe after first visiting the isles in October. They were so shocked by the fuel prices they encountered that they decided to do something “a bit crazy” to stir the fuel debate up.
From 1st March, for one day in the month petrol will be around 129.9p per litre and diesel around 135.9p per litre.
Scott explained: “At the start of the month the numbers 1 to 30 (or 31) will be placed into a hat and one number drawn out at random and in secret. This number will represent the date of the month on which the promotion will run. Prices will be effective from 7am until the shop closes that day or until the tanks are empty, whichever comes first.”
Scott and Phoebe, who come from Lancaster, said that although retailers make only two to five pence per litre profit, prices here should be just as they are on the mainland. They are willing to sacrifice any profit on that day to ensure the locals and other islanders can save a bit extra.
Scott said: “Prices will be stupidly low – it will be a thank you for the nice welcome we’ve had.” He described buying the shop as an “ideal project, very exciting”.
He added: “Small businesses are the crux of island life and an essential part of what makes Shetland unique. When crushing prices are passed on to the consumer the retailer is rarely at fault. In the space of our four weeks here our prices of fuel have increased twice – put simply, it’s not fair to penalise our customers who support the shop over a matter of pennies, but we are frequently left with little choice.
“In Lancaster the prices are around those we will be charging on promotion day. We feel it was time Shetland folk got an opportunity to pay those prices too. Although we will lose money in the process we hope what people will discover is that we like to be fair whenever we can.”
Phoebe, whose grandfather Gordon Millar was the first squadron leader at RAF Saxa Vord, said: “If the promotion is successful, we will consider extending it to make it a monthly or a quarterly offer. The value to families could be great, particularly if it is run regularly.”
The exact date of the promotion is yet to be drawn and the only condition attached is that it must be vehicles that obtain fuel on that day, containers of any kind are not allowed. The couple hope isles MP Alistair Carmichael and Tavish Scott MSP will come to discuss the move they are making to help small businesses and families.