Friday, October 25, 2013

A former shopkeeper writes to the Gurn

Yesterday we published an article "Some shops might be empty but why not fill up the windows with interesting stuff anyway?"  The post was inspired by some debate at the Westies meeting earlier in the week. Our article, in its turn, inspired former shopkeeper David Ross (Ross Outdoors Ltd) to compose the following in response to that article and also an editorial in a recent edition of the Nairnshire Telegraph which centred around the state of the High Street. David told the Gurn: 

Firstly Mr. G. Kerr obviously doesn’t know that since 2003 the Scottish Government has been giving small businesses rates relief based on the rateable value on the premises they are in. 

Link to the Scottish Government website re the original scheme.

Then they renamed it the Small Business Bonus scheme which was introduced in 2008 and replaced the previous one, and here is a link to the current tax year 2013-2014

My property has a rateable value of £6,100, so I got 100% relief. But as I have my water metered I still have a separate clean water & waste water bill with my supplier! I would also have separate bills for refuse collection as well!

As for doing art installations in the properties, or to cover the fronts of the properties, Thanks, but no thanks! Are you going to create “fake shops” like they did near the Lough Erne resort in Northern Ireland which held the G8 summit earlier this year? An empty shop is a reality, pretending that it doesn’t exist won’t make it go away!! Also would the people doing the art installations or displays in a shop have the correct insurance to cover them for any damage they do to the property? Would they also have the correct Public Liability insurance if they opened the shop up for public viewing of an art installation? I know that my Insurers would take a very dim view if I made my property available for such an enterprise, even if they had the correct insurance!

I know that there is some flaking paintwork on my shop front, but the image is of a clean and tidy empty shop. There are occupied shops on the High St. which have a lot more flaking paintwork than mine!

I do think that people should check their facts before making sweeping statements involving other people’s property and businesses! I also feel insulted by the remarks made in the editorial of this week’s N.T., as I was known, amongst other things, for my excellent service!


Iain said...

To a large extent, I agree with David. Making the High St look nice is a noble cause - but it's only a veneer that does nothing to stop the underlying economic decay.

I also took exception to the Nairnshire editorial which seemed to imply that some High St shops did not provide a good service. Most shops do that. But I think the comment was meant to mean something quite different. Simply selling "things", traditional retail, has a limited future. The key to a successful High St is selling a service, i.e. you sell your skills. Successful traders will be those who provide a unique skill-based service, perhaps alongside the sale of goods; adding value to products. In other words, the High St has to offer a service that local people want, can afford and can't be bought cheaply on Amazon. Time to get creative Nairn!

Anonymous said...

I thought that one of the conditions of Sainsbury,s being built was a donation to repaint some empty shop fronts,also a promised projected clock in the square never appeared,where did the money that Sainsbury,s provided,go?

Anonymous said...

The problem with the service idea is getting shoppers to adopt the concept that service at maybe a little more cost to the goods is worthwhile. We're used to shopping in bland unhelpful warehouse type premises where cheap as chips rules and you're lucky to see an assistant let alone obtain any useful help from one with regard a product.

Even where there is still service i know folk who will happily gain the product knowledge from the shop and then come home and buy online for a cheaper price

Price rules for many people, are they really going to start appreciating a small percentage tacked on to the sale cost to cover service even though it might represent years of knowledge gained by a shopkeeper working in the trade

The empty shops give the answer

Anonymous said...

I would prefer an empty shop window to the boarded up DE Shoes premises. That really does give the town an air of dilapidation.