It is something you may expect to see used on the set of a Hollywood film or a astrology documentary, not at a new shop in a Fife town.
A jewellers boasting a planetarium, dubbed “retail theatre”, has opened its doors in St Andrews.
Sheila Fleet Jewellery, the Orkney-based business run by the renowned designer, has opened on the town’s Bell Street.
It features a planetarium with constellations, made using more than 900 LED lights illuminating the shop.
Martin Fleet, Sheila’s son, said: “A lot of the influences in the shop are based around the sky.
“That came about when Sheila and Marion Yorston, who does our interior design work, went to a lecture at the Orkney Science Festival to do with the cosmos and the stars.
“When you come into the shop, there’s dome sections in the ceiling.
“There’s an amazing constellation of the stars like the night sky, so it looks really impressive.
“At the other end of the shop we’ve got a larger dome and that will have different features of the sea, the sky and the land.
“There will be a moving projection on the roof.
“It’s a mini planetarium in a shop which we don’t believe has been done in many shops in the whole country.
“It is retail theatre.”
Martin explained that he felt it was important to stand out from the crowd as shops begin to re-open with the easing of Covid restrictions.
He said: “If you’re going to make a success in retail, especially with the pandemic, it has to be something special.”
The team at Sheila Fleet worked with Steven Gray, of Cosmos Planetarium, to bring the ambitious idea to life at their new premises.
“He’s going to be helping us with content going in the dome.
“Before the pandemic he was going to come to Orkney and do some time-lapse photography of the night sky, but that’s not been possible.”
It is part of an extensive refurbishment inside, with “significant” investment, according to Martin.
He has overseen the transformation of the former Matthew M Henderson jewellery shop, which they bought at the beginning of last year.
He said: “We supplied the former landlords for about 20 years and got to know them really well.
“Richard [Henderson, former landlord] said ‘I’ll be retiring in a few years and you’ll be keen to have a place in St Andrews’.”
“We had a laugh about it initially but as time went on it became more serious.
“He closed the business at the end of February 2020 and we signed the lease on March 1.”
Thereafter followed weeks of stripping back the premises before a full refurbishment could take place.
A year later than planned
The plan, Martin added, was for the shop to open in June 2020.
That ambition hit the buffers when the country went into lockdown.
But almost a year after they had hoped, the doors opened for the first time this morning.
The shop in St Andrews adds to Sheila Fleet stores in Orkney – where the business is based – plus Edinburgh and Glasgow.
“We’ve only really been able to get up and running again when the restrictions meant it was safe to do so,” he said.
Martin added that the unique display was particularly important in attracting customers post-pandemic with the business having been hit hard over the last 14 months.
He said: “Initially the pandemic had a significant impact.
“Based up in Orkney we had no visitors and everything was shut.
“We were in the midst of rebuilding our website but during the lockdown it took off and we were very fortunate.
“We did better than we first thought.
“It’s been a challenge for us but without the website it would have been a lot worse.”
The shop’s opening will also create jobs for locals, with two full-time and three-part time staff employed initially.
Martin hopes to see people flock to their local High Street as Covid-19 restrictions are eased.
“People want that interaction, which you can’t get online,” he said.
“St Andrews is a great visitor destination. We’re confident that in time it’ll help us with the recovery from the pandemic.”