I visited Chris Banks owner of Highland Scene and Chair of the Montrose Business Association, as part of his fact finding tour of the small businesses across Montrose and the rest of Angus.
I heard from Chris about the effect the recession has had on which products are selling well, the impact of internet shopping and about the premium paid in business rates for shops to be on the High Street. I run my own small businesses and it is clear that Chris and Highland Scene have responded quickly to the recession by adapting the products he sells. When there are empty shop fronts across Scotland, it is great to see small, local, shops weathering the storm so well.
It was fascinating to hear how business rates can be as much as double from one end of the High Street to the other. Making a business succeed in the centre of the High Street can be extremely challenging for small, locally owned shops during a recession. Montrose and towns across Angus are blessed with varied high street shopping that is not dominated by national chains. We need to keep a careful watch to ensure that continues to be the case.