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Isles based chocolatier expands to Orkney

| Written by Shetland News

Mirrie Dancers chocolatier Dave Williams. Mirrie Dancers chocolatier Dave Williams. A SHETLAND based chocolatier has expanded to Orkney, creating a number of new jobs in the process.

Former army chef Dave Williams launched Mirrie Dancers on Lerwick's Commercial Street last year, but demand for his handmade products has encouraged him to launch a second premises in Kirkwall.

One full-time employee has been recruited and up to four part-timers will also work at the Albert Street shop.

It will double his production to nearly 20,000 chocolates per month.

Williams, who worked in the army for 26 years and cooked for members of the royal family, said he happened upon the premises by chance during a research trip to Orkney.

"Earlier this year I visited Orkney because I wanted to see how retailers marketed themselves to tourists, as the islands are a huge draw particularly for cruise ships," he said.

"By chance I spotted a store that was for let in the perfect location and decided to lease it there and then. I've already identified someone in Orkney and will train her to decorate the chocolates to my high standards, although for the foreseeable future the highly decorated chocolates will still be made here in Shetland.

"My ultimate aim however is to make all the chocolates sold in Orkney made in Orkney but that will entail taking on further space potentially later next year."

Williams used help from the local Business Gateway team to establish plans for his Kirkwall outlet.

In addition to serving the general public, the chocolatier currently makes 3,000 chocolates per month for NorthLink Ferries' business and executive cabins.

Mirrie Dancers also supplies products to nine retailers, including Hardy's Chocolates in Aberdeen.

Business Gateway Shetland advisor Jeff Gaskell said its support has given Williams time to "put in place a business plan that will guide him over the coming years and in turn help him manage the business' future success".

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