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Lerwick town centre


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If these two new Living Lerwick managers are any good then they will try and get most of the empty shops opened with some sort of shop/service. They will need to work with the shop owners and any interested party (if any) willing to try something. Having said that, it's easier said than done with rent and other overhead expenses.

 

The town is in a horrible cycle, a lot of folk say it's not worth going to due to all the empty shops but most folk interested in setting up a shop/service don't want to rent a place in the middle of empty buildings, plus the expense of having a shop tends to be more than the income.

Edited by Lerwick antiques
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Guest Mr.Brown

2 many shops start granting permission to turn shops into accommodation plenty of people looking for housing the internet and supermarkets have cut the need for high streets all over the uk no point in holding onto yesterday

I do wonder what vision you have for the towns future? Blaming the down turn of the street on the existence of supermarkets & internet shopping &/or lack of necessity is just not the whole story. There are plenty of people that still like to browse & purchase in actual shops. It may not be your cup of tea but we are not all the same & so there are many different needs & wants in this world. My personal idea of hell is supermarket shopping, I do still use them but fairly seldom, not what you would call on a regular basis. I haven't found online shopping with the supermarket a much better experience either unfortunately. But while they are not always the right options for me obviously they suit a lot of circumstances. We have had at least one supermarket for a very long time & up to the not so distant past, numerous club book companies were highly used in Shetland for all products other than groceries & yet the shops kept going & even thrived. I would suggest that levels of rents & council taxes plus in latter years the added financial demands from the town centre association/Living Lerwick or whatever it is called now (?) make it difficult for shops, particularly ones selling lower priced items to make a go of it. Also the lack of parking nearby (& charging for some of it) can't help matters. Certainly some shops could help themselves by improving their presentation & their customer service but there is also room for improvement with some customers manners too. The benefits I see in having actual shops available are that you can have an instant purchase when needed. We are not always in the position of being able to or wanting to wait (even for just a day or two) for certain goods. You can be sure of an items colour/size when you are seeing it in actuality. Footwear/clothing can be tried on for fit rather than estimated, unfortunately for these items sizes are not always as standard as you would hope & different styles can also affect the size required. Supermarkets cannot offer the individual service that some customers want & possibly need, that a good independent shop can. Also the more shops there are then potentially the more choice of products. This is particularly relevant for clothing & footwear. We don't all want to look exactly the same, especially on a night out (a distant memory)! Supermarkets tend to be built on the outskirts of towns & cities due to the space required & so are not always accessible to non drivers or if you simply don't have a vehicle on the road. I realise this is not such a problem here because of the size & layout of Lerwick though if you need to go to the centre of town for something the supermarkets don't offer, you don't always have the time & ability to get out to them as well the same day. An extra trip if you are coming in from the country means extra expense, even bus fairs can be prohibitive if you are living on limited means. A main street in any town or city can add to the character of the place, especially if extra difficulties are not put in the way of individual retailers being part of it. Tourism also adds to our economy & though a lot of tourists have chosen Shetland for very particular reasons like bird watching, knitwear or music events etc., I'm sure they would hope to find shops that they can buy something that reflects their visit or that they can replace a damaged item at short notice. I know that I have spoken to several cruise ship tourists who have been a bit disappointed with our street in the last couple of years. Variety is the spice of life. Do you really want the toon to become like just one big housing estate with only council offices, some places of employment & just a couple of supermarkets to choose from, all on the outskirts of it?

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Unless we go back to the good old days when everything was priced before it left the factory,and I'm not sure many would want that,there is no way any small outlet can compete with the big supermarkets who can quantity buy direct from source and sell at very competitive prices.

 

Prices lower than even the wholesalers where the shops have to buy in from  then resell,and shops have to add there profit margin on as well before they sell,is it any wonder that the once busy streets  are now empty. 

 

Few of us are going to pay extra for these goods when we can purchase them cheaper at the supermarkets,online ect.

 

The days of the busy shops on the street is over,few if any merchants can make a decent living retailing on the "high street" in the face of such fierce competition.

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Convert the empty places to accommodation. It's not a place that I would like to live, but I am sure many would, and do.

 

There's no point having a Lipton’s type store. People just wouldn't walk to it and the parking outside couldn’t cater for it. I often hear the refrain that there's is no parking close by, and you only have to see the able bodied park on the double yellow lines or on the pavements at Tesco to know that there are some who are too idle to walk 100 yards across a car park.

 

Cafes seem to do well, and are usually very busy at lunchtimes.

 

What I have noticed is that there seems to be a high number of staff in each shop compared to what I have seen south. Cut the number of staff and your costs will go down.

 

We need to grasp the reality that the internet has consumed a lot of our earnings. The market is no longer as large for the High Street, so either let it die, or put some life into what remains by converting it into accommodation.

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Guest Mr.Brown

^It is not simply about food shopping although there are definately areas of that market that could still be served by smaller shops too ie for the customer that doesn't have the time or patience to deal with the hustle & bustle of a supermarket or just finds it over whelming (maybe because of health conditions, I can empathise with that). Supermarkets existed along side smaller retailers for a long time now even here & I'm not sure what you mean by everything being priced at the factory, I don't remember a time when prices didn't vary around the shops? Of course smaller shops can't normally compete on price with a supermarket & I know very well how important the cost issue is from my own financial circumstances but as I pointed out in a previous post there are other ways that they do or can excel. It's not the "good old days" I want, it's good new ones with choice & variety.

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Guest Mr.Brown

My last post was in response to Urabugs post but that has probably been figured out. BigMouth please share which shops you think are over staffed, I can't think of one off hand, I reckon they must be few & far between. I have had the experience of standing in a queue in a shop in Edinburgh for 10 minutes & still not being half way along the queue so I went to another shop that was better staffed (John Lewis) & got served straight away, a much more pleasent experience. Incidently the item was slightly cheaper too. I would agree that there seems to be some people that are able enough but too lazy to go far on foot as can be seen by them parking where they shouldn't but there are also plenty of us who would find it very useful to be able to shop in a mini/market on the street. Us who do walk don't leave evidence like a snails trail so we are not so obvious!

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Mr Brown - I appreciate what you say about leaving a long queue.  I have done that on many occassions.  I don't expect instant service everywhere I go, but with the exception of Boots and Tesco, I find that I rarely wait over a minute to get served in any shop.

 

I am in Don Leslie's 3 or 4 times a week and whilst it can be difficult to negotiate due to the narrowness of the aisles, they sell all of the items that I need for a supermarket-free top-up shop.

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So, whats happening to the rumour from last year that some bakery was taking Laing's when they moved out. Has that died a death?

 

Maybe I'm alone, but I would say the toon is crying out for a bakery - One that produces consistently good quality stuff from traditional ingredients. It would cost more certainly, but surely enough folk would be willing to pay a bit extra just to get that kind of quality again.

 

Nobody could complete on price with the supermarkets and their factory produced on an industrial scale loaf and buns, and you'll never drag those away from buying them who will eat whatever bread is the cheapest, regardless of taste/quality, thats a given. The country bakers who sell in various outlets in town go some way towards it, but by the time its transported and gotten on to shelves, its not the same as buying it still hot out of the oven by a long shot, and again most, if not all have moved over to 'modern' ingredients - palm oil or vinegar has no place in bakery as far as I'm concerned, but I'm seeing both of it appearing increasingly on ingredients lists, and unfortunately the taste/quality is suffering as a result.

 

Maybe I'm just a dinosaur now, but I have a definite hankering for warm bread made from not a lot more but flour, yeast, animal fat, water and a bit of salt.....and pies or sausage rolls with a decent feed of what is obviously real meat in them, not some bland tasteless pastey mass out of a tin, and/or 90% gravy and not much else.

 

A fair chunk of change for someone to start up from scratch I know, and are any of the existing bakers interested in having a fully self-sufficient branch in town, when they're already established elsewhere, and extending their bakery where they are and only having a street shop would be much cheaper.

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Guest Mr.Brown

In Shetland I have rarely had to wait long to be served either, except for at Boots & the supermarkets I agree. But it has not been due to an abundance of staff, just the amount of people using the shop at one time. I have used Don Leslie's but certainly don't rate it as very inviting (being diplomatic). I will check it out again though, maybe it has improved.

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I spend much time pondering about Lerwick shops.

T'other day, I went into Beberly's and bought piles of wonderful stuff I needed (they have a Wall of Noodles) - and I refuse to go to Tesco even if they have widened their range - and then I tripped lightly over to Home Furnishings to get some Lamp Oil.  Run out.  Price's candles - ditto.

 

So, now what?  Amazon calls.  In my house lamp oil is a basic, especially this time of year.  I don't want scented. I don't want coloured. I just want good old fashioned lamp oil.

 

And candles?  I don't need coloured, scented, wafty, anything - just white bloody candles.  How hard can it be?

 

And now I am looking at Amazon and it isn't hard at all.

I really want to support the street but sometimes it is very difficult because my ponies on teatowels is not what I am looking for.

 

(may have had gin but you get the gist!)

Edited by Frances144
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