After landmark legal victory Tomatin Trading Company looks ahead to starting its new multi-million pound development.

With the announcement of key suppliers and personnel, The Tomatin Trading Company says it is pressing ahead with confidence to deliver its £12 million retail and leisure development at the Tomatin junction on the A9. 

The venture plans to create hundreds of new jobs, and will increase footfall both directly and indirectly in the village of Tomatin and its surrounding area, and the company can now use the name Tomatin Trading Company, after its landmark legal victory over Tomatin Distillery, which had objected to the use of the name Tomatin.  

Consisting of a 99 bedroom hotel, a 200-seater restaurant, four retail units, a fuel filling station, and a farm shop, the development will showcase a range of local Highland food and drink suppliers. 

Despite occupying a superb location for tourists and visitors between Aviemore and Inverness, the site at Tomatin, which previously housed a hotel, and latterly a café & filling station, has lain unused for well over a decade.

Entrepreneur William Frame, the businessman behind the development, explained that the recent court victory allowed the development to move forward. He said: “We are delighted with the court’s verdict, and can finally, after a two year delay, look forward to kicking off this important development,” he said.

“In addition to ruling that there had been no trade mark infringement by the Tomatin Trading Company, the court ruled that the distillery’s additional trade marks, registered in 2018, were invalid on the grounds of bad faith. This is an unprecedented ruling in Scotland, and the Court specifically noted in its judgement that cases in which bad faith is established are relatively rare. We proved on the basis of cogent and compelling evidence that the Distillery was in bad faith at the time it registered the 2018 marks.

“Our focus now shifts to announcing our build team, together with finalising our financial team. We are keen to get started as soon as we can, and feel that we have assembled a unique and proactive team which will work collaboratively together.”

The centrepiece of the development – the 99 bedroom hotel – which will be created using an innovative modular build technique.

Other contractors already appointed include Blyth & Blyth Engineers, Norr Architects of Inverness, and Thomson Bethune, Quantity Surveyors & Project Managers.

The mix of full and part time managerial jobs in retail and hospitality roles will be created on the launch of the new Tomatin Trading Company, with more following as the development establishes itself as the default choice for tourists, bus tour groups, and business & commerce hotel customers.  

“Never have the new opportunities, jobs and investment in this area been more needed as the economy looks to recover from the ravages of the Covid19 pandemic,” said Mr Frame. “Our development is an opportunity to create what’s known as a DIOR, a Destination in its Own Right, a high quality “stop off” of choice for both tourists and locals from all over the Spey Valley, Inverness, and the surrounding area.” 

“Earlier in the year we were delighted to hear that the Tomatin to Moy section of the A9 was to be dualled. This is fantastic news for tourism in this area as it will improve the local infrastructure, and attract yet more visitors,” finished Mr Frame. 

Simon Bath, formerly of the Carnegie Club at Skibo Castle, will be General Manager of The Tomatin Trading Company. He also welcomed the news on dualling, and explained the business would look to work in partnership with, local suppliers, artisan producers and visitor attractions in the area.

He said: “Even before Covid-19, the industry was seeing a customer with a far more discerning taste, looking for a destination which gives a food and drink offering second to none. Furthermore, this customer wanted the highest quality retail experience, drawing on both local and national brands, coupled with the finest service a hotel can offer. We want to give them the very best of the region here at The Tomatin Trading Company, with our hotel offering true Highland hospitality, together with the most outstanding breakfast!”

Local Independent councillor for the area, Duncan Macpherson, said: “I am delighted that Tomatin Trading Company has won its legal case, and is now able to commence. The news has been warmly greeted by the local community around Strathdearn, as local people here are keen to see the creation of a variety of well paid, full and part time local jobs right on their doorstep, on completion of the build.

“In addition to tradesmen jobs during the construction phase, this development will bring a welcome boost to the local rural economy in Inverness South, for local food and drink producers, plus many local suppliers.

“The architect plans are impressive for the hotel, restaurant and retail development, and they are befitting of a gateway to the Highland Capital, where the A9 site will once again become a welcome stop on Scotland’s longest trunk road. I wish the Tomatin Trading Company every success with this imaginative and outstanding development.”

Chris Taylor, VisitScotland Regional Leadership Director, also lent his support to the project. He said: “This news is an encouraging step forward for tourism in the Highlands. The last eighteen months has undoubtedly been the most challenging on record for tourism and events businesses and continues to be so but consumer trends still show strong demand for the Highlands in the future.

“This investment into the overall Highland tourism product is very positive news and as domestic – and regional – tourism increases in popularity amongst visitors, locations such as this, showcasing local food, drink and retail will be very popular. Visitors are still keen to explore our scenery, landscape, culture and heritage. I hope it will encourage people to discover what’s on their own doorstep.

“The creation of 100 new jobs is very welcome news at a time when so many jobs in the tourism, events and hospitality business have been lost. I look forward to seeing this new development take shape.”