It has stood at the gateway of Perth’s city centre for generations but one of the Fair City’s oldest firms finally moving to new premises in a bid to breathe new life into the business.
John Ferguson’s, which operates from two sites on opposite sides of County Place, will occupy a single premises in nearby South Methven Street in the coming weeks.
Currently on one side, there is a hardware and outdoor store, while on the other is a women’s garments and household specialist.
Boss John Ferguson, the grandson of the company’s founder, said increasing business rates and challenging market conditions had contributed to the decision to move.
The 66-year-old said: “From a practical point of view it’s easier to operate if you are in one shop.
“I spend half my day running across the street. We have a wireless system between the two tills but it doesn’t work in real time so we have to connect the tills at the end of the day to calculate stock etc.
“Also, on one building we’ve had a long history of water getting into the basement.
“Our sales aren’t as good as they were and costs keep rising. Hopefully it will cost less to run one shop than two – it will be cheaper to heat and light and the rates will be less.
“I would like to be in by next month, but it could be a bit longer.”
He added that he plans to incorporate the firm’s vintage charm into the new shop.
“A lot of people tell us there’s not many places like us in Scotland. Quite a lot of businesses like ours are quite often run by older people and when they decide to retire there’s no one who wants to take over the business so it closes.
“There’s a move towards people wanting to buy real hankies and braces, and we get people phoning from the other end of the country looking for things they can’t get elsewhere.
“Because it’s such a traditional place we get tourists coming in to take photos for their relatives. People reminisce about how they or a relative worked in a similar place.
“I’d like to have some small nods to our past. I hope it will still be recognisable as Ferguson’s.
“We will be taking some shelving with us and there’s a big Victorian display table that we are having refurbished – it’s probably been here as long as the business has been going.”
John Ferguson’s originally opened in Scott Street in 1924. It moved to the current site on the County Hotel side of the street in 1969.
The second arm of the business opened in its current location in 1938. The building is believed to have originally housed the stables for the County Hotel before being converted into four shops in the late Victorian era, which was then converted into a single unit to house John Ferguson’s.
From the 1930s to the 1960s the firm also had a van which travelled around the communities surrounding Perth.