Business Owner: Eric Gilzean
Business: Edinburgh Castle
Location: Salt lake City, Utah
Eric Gilzean came here to America from Scotland over 60 years ago. Soon after he and his wife moved here, they decided to start a Scottish imports store. Eric has a great sense of humor, plenty of knowledge from running a successful business, and occasionally you can catch him wearing a kilt.
The Scottish Journey
Eric sells many things at his store, ranging from kilts and ties, to scarves and bagpipes. Originally he hadn’t planned on opening a Scottish imports store, but after his many travels back and forth between the two countries, he had started to spend more time shopping for friends and neighbors back in America than he did vacationing.
One day he was shopping at a warehouse in Scotland when a man asked him, “What’s the name of your store?” Eric responded, “Well I don’t have a store.” This gave Eric the idea of starting a store. “We went over to Trolley Square and opened up right next to the Spaghetti Factory.” says Eric. From there it’s history. They have now been open for 40 years, and are currently located on Main Street.
Eric’s Biggest Win
Eric is proud to be an American. Now he is a proud business owner with over 40 years of entrepreneurial experience. “My biggest win was coming to America in the first place.” said Eric. “I think a lot of people don’t realize that America is the greatest country in the world, there is nowhere else even close to it. A few years ago I was in Glasgow and all these people in the warehouses would come up to me, ‘How do you get to America? How do you get to America?”
Eric joked that he didn’t have advice, and that he is the one that needs advice. “You never stop learning in any business, you’ve got to find out where you are, what you’ve got going on, get great employees, and you’ve got to get to work every day.
You can do things in America you could never do anywhere else. I’ve got story after story, where people come here, they can’t even speak the language, but after a year or so they speak English, have 3 businesses open, and their kids are all in college. — If you haven’t had freedom, or if you’ve never had anything opposite of freedom, you don’t know what freedom is.”
His advice leads us back to the privilege we have to live in this country, and it reminds us that wherever we may come from, we can all live the American dream.