A SOUTH Harris artisanal food business is on the expansion trail after harnessing online channels to build a customer base.

Lorna Macaulay started operating to capacity and had to take on an extra hand as soon as she launched Lorna’s Larder in May.

The business, serving homemade food, attracted an audience reach on Facebook of over 8, 000 people in its first weekend. Ms Macaulay set up the business after gaining many years’ experience of owning and operating a café and events catering business in Edinburgh.

Ms Macaulay and her partner Grant are both from Harris and recently returned.

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Using many ingredients sourced from within the Outer Hebrides, food from Lorna’s Larder is billed as “homemade and freshly cooked on demand”, and available on a pre-order basis on Facebook and the company’s website

The firm says as well as providing healthy meals for families and catering events in Lewis and Harris, it has plans to serve the islands’ self-catering and tourism industry.

Ms Macaulay received support from Business Gateway for a business plan, setting objectives and identifying potential sources of funding. It is also helping in the next step to extending her premises to accommodate more customers.

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Ms Macaulay said: “Since moving back to Harris and launching my business, I’ve been very busy doing pop-up cafes and outside catering in Leverburgh and Tarbert. It’s been a tremendous start.” Derek Maclean, adviser at Business Gateway Outer Hebrides, said: “Lorna’s passion for delicious, home-cooked food combined with our business support has helped Lorna’s Larder get off to a fantastic start.”