Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Nairn's last shoe shop - a business opportunity?

It may be that another company out there is considering taking on the DE shoe shop in Nairn High Street. But if not, is there someone out there with expertise in shoes and marketing in the current retail environment who might be willing to take on the shop as a going concern? That is the thought that has been crossing the mind of River CC’s Simon Noble recently.
When the News of DE Shoe’s difficulties broke the Gurn spoke to the Company MD Robert Sinclair and he said that he would be willing to consider opinion/input from community representatives, obviously he is in no position to make any promises but yesterday however, he spoke to Simon. Simon believes that Robert Sinclair is effectively saying that most of the individual shops are going concerns and it’s the centralised costs which are making it difficult for the chain to trade.

Is there some entrepreneurial individual out there that could work round that, with community support, to make a go of the shop on Nairn High Street? Maybe the community could find some way to have a community enterprise element or some other device to the affair in order to keep a shoe shop on Nairn High Street? Can we do more as a community? Is this the sort of thing we could achieve or are we all simply just caught in the headlights as Amazon, e-bay and a few others take over our shopping habits and the world? Is it worth putting the message out there that people with the expertise/experience should feel they could get local support to get the funding they might otherwise lack? Community Councils/NICE/HC/HIE etc could be galvanised into doing something if there was someone out there ready to make a go of it.
Plenty of questions today but surely there might be a way we can pass from reflection to action? Any thoughts?


Anonymous said...

i take all shoes that need repairing to my local minister,it says on his board outside the church,,,,,soles saved here

Anonymous said...

Great idea. Surely this a golden opportunity for NICE to step up and actually do something concrete rather than present us with fancy drawings and ideas, or don't they do 'real'?

Anonymous said...

end of the day if you dont have the customers, then you don't have a business.. don't see why someone else taking on this burden could make it work!

Anonymous said...

High Streets as we know them are finished, or should I see in demise

Anyone want to reopen a record shop in Nairn, or perhaps fish mongers, photographic shop, shoe repair, chandlers, paint, china, haberdashers. The list is endless and these are just the ones I can think of that are now gone

Woolworth's was the biggest loss in recent times, we should be grateful for Nickel & Dime taking over the building but it's not the same

As for DE Shoes. A brave notion that someone could take it over and turn in a profit but I doubt it

Anonymous said...

Nairn is soon going to be a ghost town, there will be tumblweed, going down the street soon.poor nairn

A Nation of ? said...

Use it or Loose it, 2 of the Gift Shops gone, DE Shoes, maybe Blockbusters, what shop next is to close its doors?

soul man said...

Well done the Gurn for trying to encourage local enterprise. But it will be important to keep a sense of realism about this.

The Anonymous commentator who suggests NICE should step in should take his own advice and get real. It doesn't make sense to suggest that NICE folk whose expertise lies in other fields like planning, architecture, corporate law, finance and admin, should run a shoe shop as some sort of "proof" of local commitment!

It's no coincidence that the old saying, "Cobbler, stick to your last" comes from the shoe trade. Of course the phrase means - keep doing the job for which you have the skills. So if there is anyone with retailing experience, especially in selling footwear, great, let them step up to DE, and let "the community" show support in whatever way they can - especially by going to buy shoes there instead of in the supermarkets or online.

Graisg said...

@ Soul man. I don't think anyone is suggesting that NICE take on a shop as some form of commitment. However the NICE plan for the old Social Work buildings does include a shop and a restaurant, so the possibility of such must have exercised the minds of the NICE high command at some point, albeit be that an exercise for the future.

What NICE could offer perhaps is a potential route map to assistance for any purchaser with the combined and formidable set of skills that you have outlined that exist in their ranks.

There is an element of clutching at straws here but retail tales of the impossible can in Nairn. Remember the discussion concerning the proposal for five flats/houses at the back of the (then) newly empty Woolies? Highland Council planners took advice from elsewhere within their organisation's ranks, asking whether a building with such a large floor space had a future as a single retail unit. The answer was a qualified no but along came Nickel and Dime.

Anonymous said...

If the DE closes i think the shop would make a good wee indoor market, where various small timers could sell their wares.. unique individual stuff you dont get in supermarkets etc.. A variety of stalls would get people in! Food for thought!


Graisg said...

I gather that has been tried in one or two High Streets that have been seriously on the slip and with positive results, encouraging business start ups or folks to take their hobby etc, out into the world and make some cash.
The DE store is in a very busy location after all with a lot of shoppers going from A-B down the close to the big Co-op.

shopaholic said...

Graisg - your response to Neilscot (Anonymous 10.50am) is spot on.

There is a good example of this in Melrose, where a group of local craftspeople have joined together in a retail cooperative, using shop premises in the main square of the town. The shop is great, it attracts locals and tourists, and the business is thriving. See http://www.thecrafters.co.uk/ .

That's exactly what Nairn needs: we already have numerous local artists and craftspeople. If they could collaborate to run a shop in the town centre I'm sure this would get support.

Anonymous said...

Don't wish to upset anyone but I fear that most of the ideas here are dreams. As the quality of shops on the high street falls then so does the footfall, and we just go down a spiral of closures until we have nothing left except cafes.

Look whats happened to the Victorian Market in Inverness, hardly the place it used to be

You can buy lots of crafts on line now - Etsy?

For folk reading this I wonder just how many shops on the high street you've been in in the last week, for myself I can count one. That's hardly going to keep the high street shops open

Nairnac said...

I'm sure there is something along the lines of the micro-indoor-market-in-a-shop in Inversnecky. It could be one option, but the exhorbitant rent/rates/insurance/utility bills etc will still have to be covered. Sadly the more pessimistic posters above may be right, but it would be 'nice' to see it tried. If not in DE's then maybe the Ballerina ?

Anonymous said...

A combination of a shoe shop and shoe repairers would work as long as the choice of shoes and price etc was right for the Nairn shoppers. The DE shoe selection is pretty good for the present population. There will be those that go in try on and then shop on line to save a fiver. That unfortunately is happening in most retail shops. It comes back to use it or lose it.