Deans and Simpson owners pencil in plans to retire

One of the Borders’ oldest family-run businesses has been unearthing a host of old treasures as it looks to shut up shop in the coming months .

Wednesday, 29th January 2020, 8:55 am
Margaret Horne at Hawick stationer Deans and Simpson.

A staple in Hawick’s Oliver Place for almost 50 years, stationer Deans and Simpson will soon close its doors for good, having been on the market for several years.

Although a buyer has not yet been found for the business, owners Margaret and Peter Horne are hopeful of an imminent sale, having been running down their stock, donating old goods and accepting good wishes for the future over recent months.

“I’m not on Facebook, but someone showed me some of the comments shared on a post about our plans to close, and it was so nice,” Mrs Horne said.

“I even had somebody saying thank-you very much for all the support we have given the Hawick people, and I thought that was so nice.

“You don’t think of it like that – you just think you are doing your job – but I suppose we’ve sold plenty of fundraising quizzes and stocked people’s books over the years. We did do a lot of favours as well.”

During the last few months, it’s been a case of trying to empty the old shop’s shelves and store rooms, and that in itself has brought people from far and wide.

“A friend put a lot of things up for sale online on Gumtree, and it’s been unbelievable where people all came from to get things they wanted and feared they’d never find again elsewhere,” said Margaret.

The store began life as a bookbinder, paper-ruler and ledger-maker owned by EW and W Simpson.

It was bought by Billy Deans Ellis of Hawick printer R Deans and Co in 1959 and he renamed it Deans and Simpson.

In 1976, Peter Horne and Alan Graham took it on, working together until Alan’s retirement in 2002.

Peter, 81, is rarely in the shop now, but Margaret, 78, has more than stamped her mark on the old establishment, running it more or less full-time since the couple’s four daughters grew up.

Now with six grandchildren and other relatives spread from Kelso and North Berwick to Larbert, near Falkirk, and the Netherlands, the couple are looking forward to a quiet retirement and having more time to spend with family.

First, though, there’s the ongoing task of emptying the shelves and rehoming a host of old treasures unearthed in the past few months.

“I’ve tried to go through everything with a fine toothcomb to make sure we home things in the right place,” Mrs Horne added.

“A lot of stuff went to Ian Lowes and the archaeological society and he was chuffed to bits with that.

“Other things went to the museum and the big old guillotine was dismantled and will be rebuilt by a man to use in Dalkeith.

“I can’t thank all my loyal friends enough for their help because, my goodness, I couldn’t have done it without them. They really have been absolutely great at helping with the clearout.”