Next few weeks crucial for many businesses - Kevin Buckle

Avalanche now stock prints and cards from local photographers henni.photoAvalanche now stock prints and cards from local photographers
Avalanche now stock prints and cards from local photographers
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Edinburgh as busy as it has been recently for the time of year, and if there is one drawback to there being so much footfall on the streets, it is that the Capital with its narrow pavements does not cope well.

The problem is never more obvious than at the top of the Waverley Steps as people pour out with many dragging their suitcases behind them and either making their way to one of the bus stops or looking to make their way on foot to a nearby hotel.

I have written about that before of course and the redevelopment of the Waverley Market roof was meant to help alleviate the problem, but with that on hold other measures do need to be considered.

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It is by no means the only area where there is a problem and particularly in the summer just trying to walk along the Royal Mile can be a trial, but within sight of all this mayhem other areas are almost deserted. While even hiding the Waverley Market under a huge pub could not stop a constant footfall other areas in the city centre still struggle to get people passing by even with their best efforts.

When I was based in St Mary’s Street just off the Royal Mile for a short time while I helped with the National Museum of Scotland’s Scottish music exhibition Rip It Up, I was amazed to hear it was actually a designated shopping street. The only people passing by were those making their way into town from nearby hotels and while it was a good central base for myself, for those who wanted to visit the shop it is not somewhere a new business could open up and hope to get any passing trade.

There is an irony in that visitors very much seem to see shopping as part of their experience even though when back home they will on the whole shop online. The good news for Edinburgh businesses is that the city has a decent amount of visitors all year round so while it may be a struggle to attract locals there is always potential sales out there.

While Avalanche could not currently be more on trend in that we sell vinyl, and Taylor Swift albums and vinyl, I’ve worked hard since opening in Waverley Market to expand on the core business we already had. This can be seen by the large number of t-shirts we now stock or the prints and cards we have from local photographers to the Brazilian based Butcher Billy.

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Should the vinyl bubble burst we still have a healthy business model which is needed given the overheads of being in the city centre. For others though, whether that be in retail or hospitality, there is talk of this Christmas being “make or break” as trading returns to normal after the pandemic or at least the new normal. I don’t think anybody understood the importance of people going to work as it was just something taken for granted but that too is an area that has changed forever as people continue to work from home. For many businesses these next few weeks will be crucial.

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