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Julie Di Toro and her partner, Sam Barker, took out a Start Up Loan in two parts in August and September 2020 to launch Mistral, an independent wine shop.

After the pandemic left them both unemployed, the pair decided to make the most of the opportunity and use their experience in the hospitality industry to launch the business they’d always dreamed of.

A man and woman standing outside of a Mistral shop

With experience working in the industry in London, New Zealand and Australia, they were confident when they moved to Sam’s hometown, Edinburgh, that Leith would be the perfect location to open shop.

Originally intending to open Mistral up as a wine bar, the pair had to think on their feet due to lockdown restrictions, and instead decided to branch out into the retail space where the business flourished. Having an open mindset was key to pivoting the business, and meant Julie and Sam were able to open a successful business despite the pandemic.


Published on 12 May 2021

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