A BITTER long-running feud between two rival businesses forced to share a prime site on the Royal Mile has ended with a handshake.
For years, Capital kiltmaker Geoffrey Nicholsby and the Singh Golds – also known as the Gold Brothers – one of Edinburgh’s most success business families, have competed side by side in the historic converted reservoir on Castlehill.
Mr Nicholsby still had 15 years of a 25-year lease to run on the landmark building when the Singh Golds bought it for £6 million in 2007.
Trouble quickly flared after Mr Nicholsby installed a turnstile which stopped people leaving his shop space and going to the Golds’ trading area on the same floor. He said he had put it in as retaliation for what he claimed were obstacles put in the way of customers heading to his shop.
Malap Singh Gold soon branded Mr Nicholsby a “tenant from hell”.
But now the two sides have come to a deal which has seen Mr Nicholsby sell his Edinburgh Old Town Weaving Co to the Gold Brothers, who have taken over his lease.
Mr Nicholsby will continue with his Highland Wear and Kiltmaking business – Geoffrey (Tailor) – further down the Royal Mile at 57/59 High Street where he has traded for nearly a half century. He also intends to put his energy into the “Mini Tank Funtrak” obstacle course at Duntarvie Castle in West Lothian, offering people the chance to drive the tracked tanks, known as Funtrak Panzers, around terrain including river crossings, mud, humps and corners.
Explaining his decision to sell, Mr Nicholsby said: “When you receive a business offer you can’t refuse it’s time to reflect and consider what you want to do with the rest of your life and one choice is to move on and put energy into other things.”
The Gold Brothers, who already own several shops on the Royal Mile, said they planned an exciting future for the Castlehill attraction, which includes a recently upgraded café.
Gold Brothers director Dildar Singh Gold said: “We have been upgrading our Royal Mile shops over a number of years to enhance the visitor experience.
“Our commitment is to develop the diversity of products and the range of qualities with an increased focus on very high quality woollen products such as cashmere, also through Hawick Knitwear and also in the souvenir ranges.
“We are a market leader in Scotland for the highest quality cashmere products available on the Royal Mile and to customers across the world through our highly successful online shops.”
The attraction, close to the Castle, is to be renamed the Tartan Weaving Mill and Mall.
Surinder Singh Gold said: “The current capacity of the weaving mill will only just meet our own needs so an investment to increase the capacity is highly likely.”