SB Connect Winter 2016

Restored shops bring in the wow factor

More than £160,000 will be invested in the coming months in town centres across the Borders with the support of the council’s Shop Front Improvement Grant Scheme.

The scheme was developed to support town centre businesses and has had an excellent response with more than 100 applications submitted in the two funding rounds this year.

People who regularly visit our town centres will have noticed some of the more striking changes that have already taken place.

A new luxury cashmere and knitwear retailer, Seventeen71 Company, has recently opened at refurbished No 4 Oliver Place in Hawick.

The traditional shop front of this Category C(S) listed property, which was hidden under a modern shop front, has been fully restored with grant funding from the scheme.

Heritage and design expert Mark Douglas said: “This is one of the best examples of a restored shop front, not just in the Borders but probably in Scotland.”

Owner of the property, Andy Irvine, was delighted with the final results: “The property was previously vacant so the restoration work has allowed not only the property to be improved but has also encouraged a new business to start up in Hawick.”

In Galashiels, the personal training and fitness class studio, Tekfit, has also recently opened in the previously vacant 101 High Street. With its range of classes and services, and in particular its distinctive style of corporate branding, the new business is a welcome and positive addition to the services offered in the town centre of Galashiels.

Owner of Tekfit, Tekin Esmer, was delighted with the grant support: “As a new business, I felt it was important to ensure the entrance to the new gym was really professional but also welcoming. It’s sparked a lot of interest and new enquiries.

“Starting up my business has required significant capital investment, so the grant support from the Council for the frontage was very helpful.”