One of Moray’s leading firms has turned its back on opening a second store in Elgin and is now pledging its immediate future to its Lossiemouth roots.
After months of negotiations with the owners of an Elgin retail park, Grampian Furnishers has failed to reach an agreement on opening a second store.
Initially it was thought that the firm would move from its current home in Lossiemouth where it has been based since 1981 – but after a poll on Facebook and an article in the local press the support was overwhelmingly for the Lossiemouth store to remain open and for the owners to consider a second shop in Elgin.
Various sites identified but the retail park received almost 99% of the vote, prompting owner Royce Clark to say: “The response overall has been amazing and we didn’t anticipate the volume of interest the question ‘should we stay or go’ would get.
“There were customers old and new coming in saying ‘please don’t go’ which was very heart-warming to hear.”
Grampian Furnishers have been based at a former cinema in Lossiemouth since 1986 and Mr Clark admitted it would have been hard for the family business to leave. A second shop was not originally considered but the owner did the arithmetic and thought he could make the numbers work.
He said: “However the level of rent and rates being asked for in Elgin was the stumbling block and in the end we decided on a figure that was our maximum weekly cost – but we could not get to that.
“What I can say is that the owner and myself were not miles apart.
“It has been a real dilemma for us over the past nine months or so, but I feel we need to move on and concentrate on further growing our business in Lossiemouth.
“We have actually started to revamp our store here already over the past two months so we will probably look to do a bit more now that we are staying.”
When asked about the long term future of the business Mr Clark said: “Lossiemouth is my home town and I would want to stay here as long as it is financially viable – but my gut instinct is that I will be reviewing our position every year from now on, and if something comes up then we will look at it.
“Perhaps in four or five year’s time we will need to make a hard decision and look at what we do to ensure we can continue to grow – and that could be Elgin or Inverness even, the future of the RAF base and the independence decision will be key factors in the years ahead.
“In addition the steady decline of retail premises in the town over the last 10 years has made it more expensive for those of us left to attract shoppers into the town.”