THESE may be stormy times for Scottish Office personnel, but Mr Ian

Lang, Trade and Industry Minister, shrugged off last week's wind and

rain to visit Shawfield Industrial Estate -- and mark the latest in a

lengthening line of Scottish business successes.

Mr Lang visited M. Mercado (Glasgow) Ltd, the carpet wholesaler which

can now claim to be the largest single-unit operation in Scotland and

one of the top handful in the UK, to officially open the latest in a

whole series of extensions, made necessary due to a sustained growth in

trade that shows no sign of slackening.

M. Mercado (Glasgow) Ltd is one of three related companies operating

under the Shenkin Group umbrella. The others are B. Shenkin & Co Ltd,

which specialises in importing carpets and rugs from all over the world,

and Clarendon Carpets Ltd, manufacturer of carpets.

The Shenkin family's involvement in the trade stretches back to the

early part of this century, but the rapid recent growth can be traced to

the early fifties when Lennie Shenkin and Bobby Mercado bandied some

ideas around over a game of bridge.

The two businessmen had a lot in common: they were both

international-standard players and had an involvement in the carpet

trade, Mercado in England and Shenkin in Glasgow. A union of some kind

was almost inevitable and what came out of that game (the result of

which is not documented) was a profitable partnership sustained until

the death of Mr Mercado in 1967.

A move to premises in Colvend Street, Bridgeton, that same year gave

the company some extra elbow room, 27,000sq.ft of it.

''The premises were rather primitive,'' said managing director, David

Shenkin. ''The floor was wooden and the building itself was not exactly

secure, we had our share of unauthorised visitors, but it was

considerably larger than anything we had ever had before. We utilised

the extra space to develop the business further and in 1971 moved to the

present Camp Road site.''

The original unit and office block built on the site occupied some

31,000sq.ft. By 1974, even this was not enough, so an adjacent property

was purchased, demolished and an extension to the warehouse built which

offered a total of 50,000sq.ft.

That should have been enough, but wasn't. Two years on, another new

warehouse was constructed and an additional 40,000sq.ft of space became


When a nearby competitor ceased trading in 1982, Mercado acquired the

property and, even with a total of 130,000sq.ft of warehousing now

available, still had plans to expand as and when such a move was


Two years ago, the directors were once again looking for more space

and the required planning applications were drafted. Once these were

approved, building began in May last year and was completed last October

with a further linking of all the units being finished just last week.

Given the pace of the Mercado expansion over the past 25 years, the

chances are the pipeline will be kept clear. When a company is as

progressive as this, nothing is finished until it's finished!