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Lerwick town centre


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Everything was within walking distance in the days before cars. There were grocer shops on the street in the 1970's but they all closed down. And there were peerie shops dotted all over the town so you didn't have to walk to the street for a pint of milk or a loaf.

 

Aye, everyone's legs have got shorter.

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Sooooo.....Whose up for running a book as to which street business will be the first to go pubic with, 'we've lost £xxxx.00 business per day/week' since the 1000 kiddos reallocated their denner money spending power to the Coop/Lochside??/Tesco/wherever NOT part of da street.

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Living Lerwick has since it's inception achieved next to nothing. It's basically a glorified talking shop, a back slapping kind of organisation, with no real structured plan of what they are trying to achieve.

 

They have tried to mold the Town Centre into a cosmopolitan oasis akin a bit towards St. Tropez or somewhere chic, little tables laid out here and there encouraging people to drink and dine al-fresco. Well this isn't the South of France far from it, and as i see it the whole concept has gotten "lost" somewhere in the mix.

 

The amount of infighting also doesn't breed confidence in an alliance that seems from my point of view to ask for lots (money) but gives you very little back in return.

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The amount of infighting also doesn't breed confidence in an alliance that seems from my point of view to ask for lots (money) but gives you very little back in return.

 

The infighting is nothing new, its almost traditional on the street. Even back in the day when there were more outlets and more customers, those that were "friendly" with non-competitors were only "friendly" to a certain reserved degree.

 

Just about the only thing the street has ever agreed on was to keep out the "muckle sooth firms dat'll destroy wis...." That now of course has become a moot point when several have managed to move in, and an ironic one, given that those and the local businesses that have embraced the concept of being part of a regional or national buying group are the only ones which appear to be doing okay, and without which the street almost certainly wouldn't exist any longer.

 

If Boots, M&Co, Begg's, Specsavers, Intersport, Harry's (Toymaster) and Laing's weren't there, there would be nothing left that could survive.

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the shop on the street run by the same folk who have the Staney Hill Shop, and they're just consilidating back to where they were previously and will be continuing selling the same products from teh Staney Hill.

 

Yes, its a 'sad' day when another street shop goes empty, but they're inevitable 'sad' days. Closures will exceed new start ups as the now 40+ year old terminal decline continues, as long as somebody is willing to put in the time and investment to set up and run a business and only get back barely a decent wage it'll hang in for a while, but the banks and Post Office will only stay in old high maintenance and expensive to heat difficult to access buldings until they become too big for their current needs as result of less and less physical work and material being generated by the steady drift to electronic alternatives,and the value of their real estate makes the only smart future, one of selling up and building a much smaller and much cheaper to maintain and run buidling elsewhere, and when they go, its game over.

 

The only business that is guaranteed to thrive on the street in the state its gotten to be in now, is one that supplies high demand product with no competition - whatever that product might be. And any such business would thrive equally well, probably better on countless other sites, so why would they choose to locate on the street anyway.

 

A significant proportion of the street buildings started life as private houses with one downstairs room given over to a shop, the best future for the owners of such buildings is to revert them back to dwellings, either for rent or sale, and the buildings designed to be shops, and those too heavily modified for shop use to be realistically reverted back to dwellings, might just find enough niche markets to survive as businesses, albeit they might only be seasonal in some cases.

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Guest Mr.Brown

Well I would definitely buy more from the street if it reverted back to having more shops that sold your staple basic goods, food shops especially. The International food shop was interesting & I tried a couple of items from it but it was more of a "specialist" shop for particular tastes perhaps. To do a weeks shopping in "Don Leslie's" would be rather expensive & limiting. But if it were possible to have a mini market like the old Presto's/Templetons/Lipton's (I mind dem all!) as a non driver who strongly dislikes the supermarket experience, though I am on a limited budget I would certainly do a lot of my grocery shopping there. I realise though that it is unlikely to happen, shame.

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^ Its a fair point. You'd have thought a "corner shop" type grocery place might have done okay someplace around the street given the population catchment area. They seem unpredictable though, Sound Services, Alec Morrison's & Staney Hill seem to do okay, Lochside sormetimes, kinda sorta okay over the years, Brucefield and Bells Brae gone though, and Marnoch's only seemed to do so-so even back in the day. What made the difference among them?

 

There's little doubt Templeton/Presto/whoever contributed to the end of the last "proper" grocers on the street, R&C's and Jim Henry's, but with that 'supermarket' outlet gone, you never know. There's certainly a lot more folk living on and near the street now than back then, few shops were occupied in the upper floors above them, unlike the numerous flats of today, and some lanes that were down to one or two if not zero households back then have been redeveloped/refurbished now.

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There is an impressive new Asian/world food shop now open next to the Raba, I bought a load of noodles etc there the other day.

I visit on my once-a-week trip into town and try to buy one new thing to cook with - experiment.

So far, we've had a superb peanutty curry and a few other creations.

 

My daughter walked in and said in awe "a wall of noodles" (Homer Simpson-esque).  I was hugely impressed to see they catered for gluten-free too.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Shetland Larder, or whatever it is called is a bit of an oddity.  I have only ever seen the staff in there - no customers.  I wondered what they sold, as to me it wasn't obvious from the outside, so I went in and bought a crepe served in a cardboard "crepe holder".  I really enjoyed it (banana and honey).  I also got a bottle of fizzy pop, expensive designer stuff, but again, fine enough.

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