Paul Soriani on family, business and Whithorn

Paul Soriani interviewed by Julia Muir Watt.

Paul reflects on his sense of pride in running the family business in Whithorn.

  • Interviewed: 23 April 2013.
  • Ref: DG4/18/1/2.
  • © European Ethnological Research Centre.

 

PS: What tends to come into it, quite often, is the pride part of it. Early on in my time here I’ve phoned my mum and said, ‘Mum, I feel really honoured tae be taking on this tradition.’ I could be making ice cream, and I could think of my grandfather, and I could think of my dad, working in the same place, doing the same thing, and I’m doing it! I can’t believe it, I’m doing it! So I feel I need to phone my mum and say, ‘Mum, I’m proud to be doing this. You set me up here, I’ve seen what you have done for your family, I want to do the same.’

people leave the shop happy. We have that interaction, and it’s an important … I think any little town has its mainstays, and a town can be left empty if a certain business decides to drop its standards or change its hours, and it can damage the business, and in the end it can be the town that loses out, you know. So if a place was run badly – and particularly this place, I don’t think this place is the most important business in Whithorn, I’m not saying that at all – but I feel that if I had let my family down by letting the business down, I think the losers wouldn’t only have been us, I think the town would have had a major hole to fill. And if it’s my family that would have been missed, that would have been sad for me. I don’t know what will happen in the future when I retire. If someone wants to take it on and keep it the way it is, because hopefully by then it will still be a viable business, or they would have their own ideas, they would make it into something else, I don’t know. I hope not. I hope it’s always a cafe. I hope it’s always a fish and chip shop. I hope it’s always someone that’s in it that will give it the respect it deserves and the people of Whithorn deserve. I think we’ve done that for twenty-seven years. I don’t think I’ve achieved half as much as my mum has done in half the time, but as I’ve said, I don’t think anybody would.