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From 14 to over 100 dealers: Perthshire antiques centre celebrates 25 years in business

Staff at The Scottish Antique and Arts Centre celebrate 25 years in business as chief executive Tracy Welsh receives flowers from owner Elaine Templeman.
Staff at The Scottish Antique and Arts Centre celebrate 25 years in business as chief executive Tracy Welsh receives flowers from owner Elaine Templeman.

As jubilee celebrations begin across Tayside and Fife, a Perthshire antiques centre is marking its own landmark anniversary.

The Scottish Antique and Arts Centre owners, staff and dealers are raising a glass for 25 years in business.

Back in 1997, Bob and Elaine Templeman opened the Abernyte antiques centre in the former Stout Brothers garage.

Taking inspiration from visits to America, the couple decided to bring the concept over to Scotland.

As many antique shops did not have regular opening hours, the centre would bring several dealers together and offer predictable opening times.

When it opened 25 years ago, there were 14 dealers. There are now more than 100 dealers at The Scottish Antiques and Arts Centre.

Quarter of a century of growth

As well as antiques, it houses modern furniture, gifts, clothes and a restaurant.

When opening the business, Elaine thought the former garage would be far too big.

The Scottish Antiques and Arts Centre in Abernyte.

She says: “It’s been really strange how it’s just grown, we thought we need to put an extension on, so we did.

“Then we thought it would be nice to make the restaurant bigger, so we did.

“We’ve done things gradually as the business has grown and just gone along with it.”

With sustainability becoming more important, the centre’s recycled furniture has become increasingly popular.

Elaine predicts that if being green stays trendy, the business will have no problem surviving for another 25 years.

Staff secret to success

Even if people are not looking for antiques, the co-founder hopes people will stop by the centre.

“I think people don’t realise what a very interesting establishment they’ve got in the area,” she says.

The centre has both antique and modern furniture, as well as gifts, clothes and a restaurant.

“Maybe the name puts people off coming to it because they think an antiques centre is stuffy.

“But we have all these other aspects to the business, so it really ticks a lot of boxes for a lot of folk.”

Since starting the business with three staff, the Scottish Antiques and Arts Centre now has the equivalent of 30 full-time staff at Abernyte.

Several of the employees have been with the business since the early days.

Elaine believes they are to thank for much of the business’ success.

“The truth is that you can do absolutely nothing if you don’t have good staff,” she says.

“You absolutely need to have people that you can rely upon and without them you’re really restricted.

“We’ve been unbelievably fortunate with our staff.”

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