Kelso shops set to cash in with Sunday opening

Kelso shops are opening this Sunday hoping to cash in on a busy weekend of events for the town
Kelso shops are opening this Sunday hoping to cash in on a busy weekend of events for the town

Plans are in place for a plethora of shops and businesses in Kelso to open their doors this Sunday and capitalise on two major events taking place.

The initiative is one of the first from a new group of local business owners and other prominent individuals.

They have taken over the running of the website, Visit Kelso, (www.visitkelso.com), which was originally set up by the town’s chamber of trade.

The aim is now to make the website the major focal point for businesses, events and information for people within Kelso and for attracting additional visitors to the town.

The group involved is currently also taking an interest in lots of other initiatives, including bike painting for the up and coming Tour of Britain national cycling event.

The group’s meetings are chaired by Karen Hume who told us this week: “The Sunday opening is a one-off experiment to tap into the bank holiday weekend and the increased footfall in the town from several major events, like the Floors Castle pipes and drums and the Honda Goldwings rally.

“We have a lot of shops and businesses on board with opening this Sunday, with at least 20 definitely confirmed, and if it proves successful then we may look to repeat it.

“A couple of shops in the town have already been opening every Sunday in August already.”

But Mrs Hume says it is a big decision for many businesses to try Sunday opening: “There is a mixed appetite among shop owners and businesses in Kelso about Sunday opening.

“It is a big decision - because we have so many independent family-owned businesses, it means they are giving up their only day off or have to hire extra staff.

“So hopefully, this Sunday’s trial of a mass Sunday opening will be a hit with visitors and locals alike.”

The group behind the Sunday opening initiative and now running the website is made up of individuals who have a particular interest in the town, and ranges from shop owners, business owners, including many from the hospitality sector, and other prominent individuals within the town.

As well as the Honda Goldwings motorcycle rally at the town’s Springwood Park, which opens to the public on Sunday, visitors are expected to stream into Kelso for the Floors Castle Massed Pipes and Drums event.

Now a well-established tradition, the Massed Pipe Band event was initiated by the present duke’s father, who recognised that the spectacular setting of the castle provided the most evocative backdrop for an event of this nature.

The event will feature over 140 pipes and drums from across the Borders and the Lothians.