Name: Gregor Stewart.

Age: 37.

What is your business called?

Stewart Temperature Solutions Limited.

Where is it based?


What services does it offer?

We provide air conditioning, refrigeration and ventilation solutions to businesses. We have recently moved into installing air source heat pumps and have seen significant local demand which we expect to see increasing in future as the impact of climate issues influence consumer behaviour. We also install electrical vehicle chargers for domestic customers and anticipate that this will also be a growth area for our business.

To whom does it sell?

Our temperature control business sells to bars, restaurants, retailers, convenience stores, offices and factories throughout the UK, as well as the domestic market. Our air source heat pump and the vehicle charger activities are focused on the local domestic market in Ayrshire and surrounding areas.

What is its turnover?

We have hit £850,000 and we are on track to break the seven-figure mark by the end of this year. This is gratifying in the light of everything that has been going on in the recent past. We really have to thank the Government for giving businesses like us the money to keep going when everyone was furloughed. The outlook for us would be completely different if this had not happened.

How many employees?

Nine and a bank of partners with whom we work closely when opportunities arise throughout the UK.

When was it formed?


Why did you take the plunge?

It all started with my dad, Ronnie Stewart. He had a refrigeration company back in the day with several employees. He then went into the pub game, then went back to the refrigeration industry and took me on as an apprentice when I was 18. In the 2008 crash, there was not enough work for both my dad and me, so I was on my own from then on.

What were you doing before you took the plunge?

I had an apprenticeship as a welder and fabricator but the tyranny of clocking-in and clocking-off and being stuck in the same place all day, every day, just wasn’t for me. Before that I had found a number of ways to make money: a paper round when I was 13, as well as pressure washing driveways and selling pancakes.

How did you raise the start-up funding?

I didn’t really; we have funded the business almost entirely from internally generated funding, except for the Government assistance we have had over the past eighteen months. We had just purchased a brand-new van a month before the 2008 crash but there was little work around. We were getting no more than one breakdown repair a day, so I started using the van to home deliver food from Chinese restaurants at night to help pay for it. I had the tools required to do my job but didn’t have the tools required to build a business. I only started realising that about five years in.

What was your biggest break?

Securing a contract from BrewDog, the brewery and pub chain. A shopfitter looked us up in Yellow Pages and called us to see if we would attend a water leak for one of his other customers. He mentioned, in passing, that he did work also for BrewDog and asked if we fitted cellar cooling equipment. We said, “yes, we do.” We then got the air conditioning, then the ventilation work and, before too long, all the BrewDog pub temperature-related repairs throughout the UK. My takeaway from this experience is, never forget that taking on wee jobs can lead to big contracts.

What was your worst moment?

Too many, but I always encourage my team that mistakes are OK as long as we learn from them and can grow from there. It seems that we are all encouraged from school not to make mistakes, and sometimes we even got punished for them, but I believe that this holds people back.

What do you most enjoy about running the business?

I like to bring young people into the business and give them the opportunity to show how they can perform, seeing them progress to the stage where they are making good money and are in a position to provide for their families and can afford to buy nice houses and cars.

What are your ambitions for the business?

To continue to grow and push forward into new opportunities. Our aim is to be industry leaders by not only just striving to be the best in the industry with our installations and repairs, but by working towards reducing our own carbon footprint while we do it. One of our first steps is the new electric works van we have just ordered.

What could the Westminster and/or Scottish governments do that would help?

Make it easier for people, through direct grant-funding, to install air source heat pumps.

What was the most valuable lesson that you learned?

My business isn’t me. I have my business and I have my life. I came to understand this after the pandemic struck. I realised that a business can go in a click of the fingers but all my family and friends will still be there. As soon as this struck me I got engaged straight away after 13 years. I have learned lots also from my business coach Stevie Kidd who has helped me build the business we have today.

How do you relax?

My ideal way to relax is to run. It’s a great escape and I get most of my ideas when out running. I like also to go out to eat with my fiancée, Katie, and to check out the air conditioning installation. Also, when I need to unwind I have four bulldogs I love taking out for a walk.