WHEN Gordon Rennie found a derelict pub in Irvine Harbour, he knew he’d found his dream coffee bar venture. But others advised him against it.

“From the beginning, I was told this wouldn’t work,” Mr Rennie told the Go Radio Business Show with Hunter & Haughey.

“They said no-one will come here to this derelict harbourside. I can show you the surveyor report saying, do not buy this old pub. This is a disaster. No one wants it. It’s worth nothing and no one will come here.”

But Mr Rennie pressed on, and in 2015 opened GRO Coffee, an organic coffee bar, bakery and kitchen that has now opened in Ayr and plans to open its third outlet in Glasgow.

“I always had a passion for coffee shops and was desperate to open one,” he said. “I’d travel the world and see different ideas and places, with big couches and open late at night. And I just thought – this is for me. We can bring this to Scotland and get a good place to relax that is dog friendly as well.”

Irvine harbour has lain derelict for years but was a ‘gem’ in Scotland and must be unique in Britain in terms of its potential, Mr Rennie said.

“It’s a blank canvas of a harbourside, with thousands of acres of brownfield [land] and a train station to Glasgow,” he said.

As a teenager, Mr Rennie worked behind the bar in his parents’ snooker club.

“I realised that I liked working for myself, and I learned how to DJ with the older guys that would come in and DJ in the club.”

Having three sites has always been his vision for GRO Coffee. “I’ve got a dream of making our own bread and croissants,” he said.