Edinburgh store Broadway Premier in Oxgangs celebrates 40th anniversary with various events
The Broadway Premier is much more than a convenience store – it has also emerged as a pillar of the community in the Oxgangs neighbourhood over the last four decades. Opened in the early 1980s, the family-run shop has become a much-valued asset to locals, not only serving hot food and household essentials but also providing a place for the community to come together.
This week marks 40 years since the shop first opened its doors and owners Dennis and Linda Williams, along with their daughter Sophie, are excited to host a range of events to celebrate the occasion. Sophie, who has planned the anniversary for months and did her first shift at the shop aged five, said: “We want to make this week so special for the community, to say thank you and to celebrate all the people who have contributed to us still being here.”
The celebratory week sees a range of events taking place in store, from a supermarket sweep themed ‘trolley dash’, competitions to win an iPad and a £40 shop, free coffees for all customers and a selection of items priced at 40 pence to coincide with their milestone year. Later in the week pupils from Pentland Primary School will sing for customers and there will also be performances from the Simon Says Dance School.
Linda described reaching the milestone as ‘a miracle’. Linda said over the years they have had to compete with larger businesses including Tesco, Morrisons and Aldi but said their loyal customer base and ‘’fantastic staff’ have been ‘a huge part of our success.’
Dennis said their shop acts like a community hub and it has been great to see their bond with the community develop over the last 40 years. Dennis said: “For me, one of the biggest things is customer service and working with your local community. We give a lot of young people their first job and they stay with us for many years. I’ve seen two or three generations of families growing up in the area and it’s great to see how they flourish in their lives.”
The pandemic highlighted the altruistic nature of the shop, providing free food deliveries for people who will self isolating. After seeing some of their customers struggling during the difficult period, the Williams family began offering free sandwiches to those in need before launching a hardship fund to help locals buy food, gas and electricity. The family’s target of £300 was quickly surpassed within 45 minutes and the fund went on to generate over £10,000, including an £1000 donation from the Williams family.
Linda said: “It’s still on-going and we regularly get contact from health visitors, social workers and local councillors to refer families who are struggling for one reason or another. There are customers who give us money every week towards it. A lot of the time we can help but if we can’t we can point them in the right direction and sometimes that is all that’s needed.” Dennis added: “When you’ve got a business like this you’re like a social worker as well, you hear everybody’s problems and issues.”
Sophie said watching her parents and grandparents before them has been ‘inspiring.’ She said: “The best thing I have seen is watching my parents be pillars of this community. They are always there for everybody, you can come and speak to them about anything, they are always a shoulder to cry on. They are my role models and I know there are a lot of people in the Oxgangs community who also think that.”
Scott Arthur, Labour councillor for Colinton/Fairmilehead ward, who visited the shop today said: “Oxgangs is right at the heart of my ward and Dennis and Linda’s shop is one of the places that defines the local community.”