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Store to close after 41 years in town centre

Section:  Dumfries and West  | Tags: , , , ,

A LANDMARK family business in Dumfries is closing after 41 years — blaming out-of-town competition and changing trends.

And one of the owners of Paling’s in Queensberry Street is questioning what can be done to improve town centre retail trade.

Ian Paling runs the business with his sister Julie Zutic, and said: “In the last two or three years I’d say we’d seen quite a big difference in trade, and I think it’s mainly out-of-town shopping that I’d put that down to.”

His grandmother Sarah purchased Kelly’s gifts and houseware business in Friar’s Vennel in 1976.
Her son Leonard bought the business and moved it to Queensberry Street in 1980 where it has been run since 1987 by Ian and Julie.

Ian, 56, said: “I’m sad to see it go. It was a real thriving business in its day; in the late 90s early 2000s it was a really busy shop and employed quite a few staff.”

Trends have changed over the years.

Ian said: “I suppose people maybe aren’t buying so many figurines and gifts nowadays — we’ve seen that side of it fall, especially the younger market.”

And he added: “We don’t seem to get the same level of business with people wanting gifts for weddings — a lot of people seem to want money these days.”

Ian says services seem to be faring better than retail in Dumfries.

But he said: “I don’t know if there’s any way back for the town centre. I really don’t know what to think.
“What can be done to help? I mean, they’re doing this flood prevention barrier down the Whitesands which is a massive waste of money, I think.”

Ian fears the impact of up to two years of work, claiming disruption around the introduction of granite surfacing at Burns Statue dealt a lasting blow to his business.

He said: “I definitely think it did. Three businesses closed down, so we’ll be the fourth one.”

A sale is set to clear stock, but adjoining music store Barnstorm will continue unaffected.

The grade B listed three-storey building is owned by the Paling family and is currently being advertised for sale or let, with the family set to focus on their commercial lettings.

Ian said: “I’d just like to thank customers all for all their business throughout the years.”


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