While Kirkcaldy High Street is struggling – like many others the length and breadth of Scotland – Burntisland residents have been singing the praises of their main shopping area.
The town’s shop units are almost full and many are doing a roaring trade.
And, with the nationwide Totally Locally event coming up in just a few weeks, encouraging people to support their High Streets, the people of Burntisland say they are very lucky to have such a diverse range of shops selling a huge range of goods and services, from butchers and greengrocers to a pet shop and ice cream parlour.
Tom Courts Butchers has just been crowned Scottish Haggis Champion of the year, while Novelli’s ice cream shop was highlighted in the Scotsman as one of the best in Scotland.
The Happy Go Lucky Dog Co. which opened its doors last year scooped the Best Independent Pet Supply Store in this year’s Scottish Independent Retail Awards, and the town also has an award-winning greengrocers in the shape of Macauley’s, a florist, fish and chip shop, restaurants and a fishmonger.
Totally Locally Burntisland Fiver Fest, where local traders are encouraged to put on a special offer for a fiver to encourage people to shop local, will run from June 8-15.
And local traders hope that this will give them another boost and attract more new customers to the High Street.
As well as offering quality products for sale, traders say that everyone in the town works together to support each other, and most have a very loyal customer base from local customers.
People are also willing to travel from around Fife to buy the products, which contributed to its continuing growth.
Nova Gamble, who opened Novelli’s ice cream shop almost two years ago with her husband Ervin, told the Press: “We both feel the main reason for the high street thriving is that collectively there is a great selection of shops with fresh modern ideas from business people that are all very passionate about what they do and want to succeed and all work very hard dedicating their lives to their businesses.
“We both feel that a lot of the great shops we have are run by people that want to offer something different with quality products and services from well presented modernised shops that a lot have invested in to make the high street more appealing.
“We were delighted to be named in the top 16 ice cream shops in Scotland and its an honour for all our hardworking staff.”
Tom Courts, fresh from winning the Scottish haggis champion award, said: “Being an independent trader on any high street has it’s challenges. That said, in the past 16 years I have taken over businesses in three different towns, Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly and Burntisland and enjoyed great success in all.
“My formula is simple, I work hard, invest heavily in my business and provide a good product and service. I also surround myself with staff who have the same motivation as me and reward them well.
“In the past three years in Burntisland we have achieved a large year on year rise in turnover. Again, I put this down to my aforementioned formula and our successes in national competitions.
“We are also very lucky to have so many other independent and diverse businesses in Burntisland who share similar ambitions and we are heavily supported by a loyal customer base both locally and from out-with the town.”
Victoria Johnson, who owns the Happy Go Lucky Dog Company with her mum Anne, selling equipment to the working, showing and pet dog markets said: “We opened just over a year ago after attending dog shows and events with our trade stands for many years.
“It made sense to open the shop in a busy bustling High Street with lots of other independent traders. We love love the High Street which boasts many unsung gems and award winning shops.
Independent businesses in Burntisland are taking part in the first ever Totally Locally National Fiver Fest from June 8–15 to encourage shoppers back to their local High Streets.
Shops, cafés, restaurants, pubs and businesses taking part, will put on special £5 offers for the duration of the campaign.
Lorna Duffin, who is one of the organisers of the Burntisland event, said “We’re joining in with the National Fiver Fest to give some great bargains for local shoppers, but also to showcase the town and the great shops and businesses we have here.
“It promotes the message that if every adult in Burntisland spent just £5 a week with their local independent shops and businesses, it would be £1.4 million going directly into our local economy.”