Opinion – Every little helps small shops thrive

Jim Hogg, butcher in Galashiels retiring.
Jim Hogg, butcher in Galashiels retiring.

You can’t uninvent the wheel or fire. Likewise supermarkets.

Large stores selling everything from food and clothing, to electrical goods and petrol from one location and at a reasonable prices, are here to stay.

And that’s not just down to their convenience, but for an economical reason too.

We are often extolled to ‘shop local’, but in times of economic difficulties when hard-pressed families need to make all the savings they can, you cannot blame them for doing their shopping at superstores operated by the likes of Tesco and Asda.

However, there is a downside that we are all too familiar with. This week, we report how a shop in Galashiels’ High Street, which has been a butcher’s business since shortly after the First World War, looks set to become a pub extension.

Retiring proprietor Jim Hogg blames much of the dwindling High Street trade on big supermarket chains.

Plonked in the heart of Galashiels in what some would say was a misguided effort to halt trade leaking out of the town centre, all the supermarkets seem to have done is hoover up a lot of that spending themselves.

While we might like to support small shops, wages have not kept pace with the cost of living.

Supermarkets have a role to play. But it is coming at the expense of our town centres and high streets.