Independents can survive if they have USP - Kevin Buckle
I wasn’t let down and all morning there was a stream of sales with customers who had bought things earlier in the month in to buy more or others who had been more cautious in to spend what money they now had left.
Many were on their way to the station and knew they could pop in before catching their train. We used to have a similar thing happen when we were in Cockburn Street.
By midday, though, we were getting a second influx mainly of couples in Edinburgh for a long weekend and having spent the weekend sightseeing were having a day out shopping.
It is not uncommon for customers to ask me to recommend shops they should visit, which is how it comes to light they are on a shopping spree. I do my best to promote other local businesses but often people comment on the number of tartan tat shops being a disappointment.
One gentleman bought five T-shirts and explained they were for his son who was starting college this week so he was treating him. No sooner had he said this than the shop became full of students for the rest of the afternoon, though I’m still not clear where they all came from as it is a week or two before many start back.
Just when I thought things might ease off in the last hour there was amazingly a fourth wave of customers who were arriving early for The Killers gig at the Royal Highland Centre the next day.
Many of these folk seemed to have come especially to the shop rather than happen to pass by and I even had a few people from abroad reminding me they had visited the shop before when over for other gigs.
I had even more Killers fans in the next day and while not maybe on the same scale as when Harry Styles or Bruce Springsteen played Edinburgh, there is no doubt that at least for certain shops these big gigs bring welcome sales.
Sadly on the Sunday I had heard our good neighbours The Refillery were closing their Waverley Market shop to concentrate on their other locations.
Their cafe had actually been a great success during the Festival but with so many locals still not returning to their city centre jobs and the Refillery concept not being one that works with visitors, it made sense for them to put their efforts into the shops that have a local community to serve.
With the Refillery at the Waverley Bridge entrance it at least gave people the idea there might be more interesting shops inside though, I’m guessing not many were expecting a vaccination centre next door. Thankfully Avalanche is sufficiently close to the entrance that anybody who does pop their head in can see us.
Edinburgh has never been busier and yet barely a day goes by without hearing of another restaurant closing, so clearly eating habits have changed, but for independent retail there is still hope if you have something not seen elsewhere.