When the shutters went down on the Coffee Pot last month it brought the shutters down on a near century long presence in the town with a popular Scots-Italian family.
Peter Scaramuccia, and his wife Marie, who have run the Coffee Pot all their married life, have sold the cafe, which for many town folk was a staple of their life growing up, after admitting ‘the town isn’t the same any more.’
It brings to an end a long association with the town for the family between cafes and sweet shops which began in 1922 when Peter’s grandfather, Louie, arrived on the isles from Italy.
“My grandfather Louie came over and we’ve been here ever since,” remarked Peter, “it was both a tough thing to do (to choose to sell) but it was also the right thing to do.”
The family set up businesses in a few different sites in the town from the chippy on Church Street, to the insurance premises next to the old Clachan Bar before purchasing the building which would become the famous Lido Cafe on Cromwell Street.
“In the beginning my grandfather and my uncle operated it between them, in a year about system, but my grandfather was sent to prison during the war,” recalled Peter.
“I was always around the shops and I started working more or less when I was 12 in the Lido and I never left.”
But as the changing economy continues to bite small business owners and the footfall in the cafe, like so many other local shops and cafes, has suffered. The growth o f supermarkets, the smoking ban and the delayed arrival of daily newspapers have all been contributing factors.
“Things are not the same at all any more. Things have gone so quiet compared to what they used to be. People don’t use the town like they used to,” added Peter.
“It is a bit sad but I hope to take a few weeks off then maybe pick up a part time job to keep myself busy.”
The new owner of The Coffee Pot building plans to convert the premises into a decorator’s shop.
Above: Peter as a youngster on Stornoway Golf Course with his parents and sister.