Life in Lockdown: Ross' story
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A young businessman who was on the verge of signing the lease on his first premises has had to put his plans on hold during the coronavirus restrictions.
23-year-old Ross Mackay, from Inverness, said he is still keen to get his vegan cafe and music-lovers venue open, but admits he doesn't know when it might be.
Ross is one of a number of people who have shared the story of what their life is like in lockdown with the Highland News and Media group, the publishers of The Inverness Courier.
Ross moved to the area four years ago from Essex, where he was born and brought up, to work as a rafting instructor.
Since moving to the area he has established a highly thought of DJ club night and he and his business partner Alan MacIntosh had set their sights on a cafe they are going to call Deja Brew.
As Ross explains, things were going well, until the coronavirus restrictions struck.
He said: "We were about to sign a lease on a former Italian restaurant in Inverness, and we were going to open a vegan cafe.
"But all our plans are now on hold, as we don't know what it will be like after the restrictions are lifted.
"We wanted our place to be a cafe and takeaway that would offer people an alternative to fast food places in the evening and night times in the city."
Ross had been working on the plans as he travelled the world.
He said: "I went to Australia and Tasmania and realised that what we were missing back home in Inverness was cafe culture. So we were hoping to open a late night coffee shop in the High Street. The premises we have been looking at was perfect for that, with a nice little area outside that could be used for people to sit on the street and enjoy watching life go by.
"Not that we had finalised our plans, but we hoped that we might be able to have some evening acts performing in the cafe, with DJ sets and even some late night comedy.
"But that is all on hold for now."
In the meantime, Ross has moved back home to live with his parents in Nairn. He said: "We have got it much easier than they have in other parts of the country, and there is plenty of space to get out and to enjoy the countryside. It is quite different in the south. So we are making the most of it.
"My girlfriend, Karen Lindsay, and I have had to go onto Universal Credit, so it is not a great situation, but hopefully it will not be for long, and we will get back on track."
During the lockdown, Ross and two friends, Adam Fairbairn and Zoe Williams, who have a home music studio, have been developing another project, Household.
The name, which Ross agrees is very suitable for the lockdown, came about while he was sitting in a car park waiting for his girlfriend.
He said: "I was parked up waiting at Morrisons in Inverness when I looked across the road and there is a furniture shop. It has huge signs in the window for household items, and I realised that it was just the right name for our club nights.
"The club nights are for people who are into music like electronia, some disco, pulse and love stream. I don't think there is anything else like it in the area, so it makes perfect sense to have regular meeting."
The first, and so far only, club night was held on March 22, and more than 70 people came out to see DJ Liam Doc. We hired the room above The Gellions and we were really pleased with how it went. Of course the other dates we had planned have now had to be put on hold."
The group are having regular online versions of the club night online, details can be found on the group's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HouseholdHighlands.
But they had plans to take the music all over the Highlands including an event planned in Thurso.
Household's online DJ night on May 15 will raise much-needed funds for the Samaritans in Inverness.
Ross said: "My dad is a volunteer there and I know how vital and important the work is."
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