Carpet World said goodbye to one of its founding directors yesterday (Friday) as Willie Morrison took retirement after 30 years with the company.

“I'll be sad to leave the place, but life goes on,” said Willie. “And I wish the company all the best for the future. I've seen it go from strength to strength, it employs 15 of a staff now, and the future is bright for the shop with the next generation of salesmen ready to take care of our loyal customers.”

Willie's retirement also marks the end of a near 50 years in which he has served island customers since he first entered the retail trade, aged 16, when he began work at lady and gents outfitters George Stewart's in 1967.  “Stornoway town was as busy back then,” he said of his seven years at the Francis Street shop, where Sportsworld is based today.  Next Willie tried a different career, working for four years in Western Isles Hospital; a job he enjoyed and involved working in theatre and working with many wonderful people.

But it was soon back to retail, with another seven years in Grants on South Beach Street, now home to The Kitchen Centre, where he first met fellow Carpet World Directors Duncan Maclean and Dolan Morrison.   With the closure of Grants in 1982, Willie worked with Grillburger Frozen Foods for three years, before discussions with friends Duncan and Dolan saw the three look into the idea of opening their own carpet shop.

“We got together and opened the Carpet World store right here on Keith Street, where it still is, on May 1st 1986,” Willie said. “It felt a huge gamble because at the time there were already five carpet shops in Stornoway. But we were really lucky and I think providing excellent customer service and the full package from the start helped us.

The trio's gamble of opening yet another carpet shop in Stornoway paid off however as the following years saw the opening of sister shops Carpet World Warehouse  and Furniture & Interior World. , “The businesses grew gradually and we've been supported marvellously by locals and islanders,” he continued. “It's been a pleasure serving them and its down to our loyal customers that we've had success."

He added: “It's been a real privilege for me to do this job, it really has, and the last 30 years have gone passed in a flash.

“Now it's time for a wee bit of enjoyment, play bowls, paint and decorate and get the house in order, and relax!”