Growing up in Perth, the old McEwens shop on St. John’s Street was always the city’s flagship retailer. It was steeped in history and always stood out with its vast shop front forever catching the eye of passers-by.
It was an institution in Perth and was known by people from across the country, who would visit the shop to pick up the latest fashions that were stocked by the area’s best-known independent business which first opened its doors in 1868. Following it's closure it left a big hole and feeling of distraught among many people in Perth both young and old. I can remember my own gran recalling some of her favourite stories from working in McEwens, and I know that had she been alive when the store closed in 2016 she would have been deeply saddened.
There is however, some good news regarding the shop’s former site on St. John’s Street. Another independent department store is coming to town – Beales. They’re the largest of their kind in the UK and they’ll be opening their first store in Scotland in the former McEwens shop, news that’s been welcomed by the local community and Perth and Kinross Council.
Originating from Bournemouth on the UK’s south coast, Beale’s products include womenswear, menswear, beauty and fragrances, home and electrical appliances and kids’ toys. We recognise Perth to be one of the most innovative cities in Scotland with a great heritage. They first started trading in 1881 and they now operate from 20 department stores throughout the country with Perth flying the flag for Scotland.
The news was confirmed today and Beales’ CEO, Tony Brown, is looking forward to opening the store in new territory and is aiming to be trading in time for Christmas.
“We’re delighted to welcome our Perth store, formerly McEwens, to the Beales family. Working closely with Perth and Kinross Council, we hope to get the store open by November. We recognise Perth to be one of the most innovative cities in Scotland with a great heritage and a forward-thinking council.
“We’re confident that Beales will be able to meet the needs of our new customers in Perth and the surrounding area, continuing the city’s tradition of offering all that is best from a local, independent department store.”
It’s great news for the city centre as Beales will attempt to fill the gap that was left in Perth when McEwens closed its doors for the final time back in May 2016. The announcement comes less than two months after the former McEwens of Perth store in Inverness was sold to a private investor for £490,000.
Perth and Kinross council leader, Councillor Ian Campbell, was delighted with today’s announcement and is enthusiastic about what the city’s newbies can bring to Perth.
“This is fantastic news for the city of Perth and the surrounding area. The former McEwens building is a flagship site in the city centre and it’ll be great to see it coming back into use particularly as home to an established independent business. It's a ringing endorsement of our city as a place for business investment and growth.
“The decision by Beales to make Perth the location for their first Scottish store is a ringing endorsement of our city as a place for business investment and growth, and I look forward to seeing them open their doors to new customers later this year.”
So, just over a year since Perth lost one of its most cherished independent retailers, we have some positive news for St. John’s Street. We’re excited to see the space come back into use and it won't be long before the vacant shopfront is filled with new products and displays. The store is set to open in November and you can bet that Small City will be there when it does so keep your eyes peeled for updates over the coming months!
For more information on Beales and their products and services, visit their website.
Andy Cummins from Perthshire Rugby is heading to Uganda at the end of November to help support children orphaned by war, HIV and poverty. He is asking for the people of Perth to donate every day items for him to take to Isaac's House - an orphanage that he supports in the small village of Namulanda.
Mindspace run a number of different projects aimed at combating stigma, treat depression and ultimately reduce the worrying statistics around suicides and mental health problems. They've been put forward for funding via the Aviva Community Fund and they need your votes to help secure the cash which will enable them to continue their work.
November 8th Wednesday 2017
Horsecross Arts has announced that a studio in the revamped and restored Perth Theatre will be named in honour of former artistic director, Joan Knight, dubbed the first lady of Scottish theatre.
November 6th Monday 2017
Culture Perth and Kinross are running their fourth The Big Listen project to get the local community's thoughts on the services that they offer in the area's libraries, museums and archives. They're looking for feedback with the project open to the public and running until 25th November.
November 3rd Friday 2017