Realising Retail Potential

Independent Retailer Profile – Scots Corner, Oak Mall Shopping Centre

In 1988 the thriving city of Glasgow was on the verge of being named as ‘European City of Culture’ and welcoming millions of tourists from all over the world.  Straight out of university, 18 year old Steven Watson from Bishopsbriggs, on the northern fringe of Greater Glasgow was receiving £30 per week in government funding, as part of the Enterprise Allowance scheme and decided to launch his first business at the famous Glasgow Garden Festival and his career in retail was underway.

After taking some advice from his father, who had his own businesses and had previously been a market trader; this young entrepreneur made the brave decision to take advantage of the tourist boom in Scotland; selling Scottish themed products to tourists under the brand name Scots Corner.

In 1989 Steven opened a store Glasgow’s busy Sauchiehall Street within the Savoy Centre. Whilst he had built up a loyal clientele in Glasgow, he made the decision to branch out and expand his retail offering to Greenock and began trading at Oak Mall as part of the monthly market.  Sadly, the monthly market was cancelled.  But not wanting to disappoint the loyal customer base that he had already built up at Oak Mall, Steven contacted Space to trade about renting space on the mall.

Steven said, ‘I contacted Lynn Carmichael at Space to trade with a view to trialling a space on the mall for a weekend, which turned into a week and then a month.  That was almost 8 months ago.  In December 2016, I signed a contract to continue to trade on the mall at Oak Mall until the end of December 2017.’

Steven told us, that after almost thirty years in the business, he was a little set in his ways and didn’t really understand that mall retailing required a different approach. Space to trade helped him to improve his display and then moved him from a traditional RMU to a larger site on the mall with display units, more suitable to for displaying his products.’

He continued, ‘I initially thought that my customers were cruise liner travellers and other tourists.  However, through hard work and perseverance I have become very popular with local shoppers in Greenock and they know that they can rely on me to help them. I’ve even assisted customers with kilts for weddings and other celebrations.’

Steven Watson puts his success at Oak Mall down to, not just being in the right place at the right time, but also the help and advice that he’s received from Space to trade and particularly, his dedicated account manager, Lynn Carmichael.  Steven concluded by saying, ‘I can honestly say I really love what I do at Oak Mall Shopping Centre. Lynn is regularly at the Centre and always on hand to help out and offer her professional advice and expertise.  The beauty of mall trading with Space to trade is the personal service that you receive and that you’re not confined to just one shopping centre.’

Paul Clifford, Managing director of Space to trade firmly believes that local traders are an asset to any shopping centre and having a local account manager that knows the area and the demographic of the centre is a must.  ‘The new business is local’ method is getting out there with a plan of attack and the mind-set is to truly understand the business you wish to add to the Centre’s existing offer. The days of simply placing traders in locations only to achieve occupancy has passed.’

For more information on how your business could benefit from working in partnership with Space to trade please call us on.


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