THE former home of one of the Capital’s best-loved independent music stores is set to re-open as a tartan emporium.
After 41 years in business, Ripping Records closed for the final time in November last year and its South Bridge unit has lain empty ever since.
But the outlet looks to be trading again soon following the arrival of new shop frontage reading “Tartan Republic Edinburgh”.
The unit is still owned by former Ripping Records owner John Richardson but he will not be directly involved in the new store.
Its arrival would mark the latest in a long line of souvenir shops all jostling for trade from the hundreds of thousands of tourists who visit the Capital every year.
Mr Richardson said he understood those running the new business had “ambitious” plans. He said: “When I was involved in the business association people use to say ‘tartan tat’ this and that [but] it is not going to be tartan tat, that is for certain.
“People have to run a business, they have to make a profit and if that’s what people want to buy there has to be a facility to sell them that.
“What you have to do if you are a retailer is sell something people want and you have to be able to sell them something they can’t buy cheaper on the internet.
“It’s very difficult to find anything to sell that isn’t available on the internet and cheaper.”
Just a stone’s throw from Waverley station, the new souvenir store also lies within the borders of the Edinburgh World Heritage site.
Nicholas Hotham, head of external relations at Edinburgh World Heritage, said the organisation did not comment on individual business.
But he added: “We have a programme in South Bridge to work with shop owners to restore the Georgian and Victorian shop fronts.
“That’s something we have done in other parts of the city, like Victoria Street.
“We do think the retail environment in South Bridge leaves something to be desired.
“The economic development in the city needs to benefit residents and local businesses as well as being interesting for tourists. We are always looking at getting that balance right.”
Ripping Records’ closure at the end of last year was followed by a rousing send-off in January in a self-styled “wake” attended by dozens of fans.
Conservative city centre councillor Joanna Mowat said a unit in use was always better than an empty one but stressed the need to ensure there was variety within Edinburgh’s retail environment.
She said: “One of the concerns residents have is that the retail offer is geared more towards visitors then to residents. A shop open in use is always better than an empty one [but] it would be nice to see more variety in the area.”