FIFTEEN jobs will be created in Hawick with this week’s announcement that textile manufacturer Johnstons of Elgin is opening a new visitor centre at its Mansfield Road factory.
The £1million facility, which will include a café and retail outlet at the Eastfield Mills site, is due for completion in May.
Director James Sugden told TheSouthern yesterday: “This investment will initially create 15 new jobs but, equally importantly, it will safeguard the 250 jobs already there.”
He said work had already started on the first phase of the renovation with a new mansard roof erected over the existing building.
In the weeks ahead, there would be “substantial restructuring” of the ground floor to create 3,600 sq.ft of retail/visitor centre space which will include an interpretative centre showing a 20-minute video of the processes of cashmere manufacture employed by the firm.
Mr Sugden said: “Johnstons of Elgin is a unique company with more than 200 years of experience.
“We opened a visitor centre in Elgin some 25 years ago, much along the lines of a mill shop.
“But we have moved on from there and now have a luxury retail business turning over £5million a year and attracting over 200,000 visitors to the Elgin site each year.
“We aim to replicate this in Hawick, and we feel the town itself, with its rich trading history, has largely been undersold.
“I hope that this privately-funded investment will help to put Hawick back on the map as a destination to visit.”