A date has been set for Hawick’s newest superstore to open its doors.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be staged on Thursday, February 9, at the town’s new-look Lidl supermarket.
It is not yet known who will be asked to do the honours, but after it’s over, the doors of the Wilton Path store will open to the public.
The imminent arrival of the replacement retail outlet brought an enthusiastic welcome from one town councillor and a more cautious one from another.
The company’s third new-look store in Scotland brings with it 15 new jobs, but concerns have also been raised that its arrival, and that of a new Aldi in Commercial Road, will provide unfair competition to existing town retailers, particularly on the already-struggling High Street.
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall believes that on the contrary the discount retailer will provide townsfolk with more choice, and he sees its opening as part of a series of positives for townsfolk to look forward to in 2017.
He said: “I am delighted that Lidl is opening its doors soon. It’s amazing how many townsfolk are now asking as to when it will be open for business.
“I don’t know on how many occasions over the past few years I have been stopped by townsfolk informing me that we don’t have much to offer in Hawick.
“Well, here, with Lidl and Aldi, are two good examples, coupled with the new distillery, a new hotel and millions of pounds being spent on our beloved Wilton Lodge Park.
“These huge cash investments certainly herald the fact that there will be plenty on offer in Hawick.”
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Ron Smith also offered Lidl his best wishes for success, but he remains concerned at the impact the new retail arrivals will have on existing traders.
Mr Smith, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for planning and environment, said: “I always have concerns covering their impact on each of the town’s many supermarkets but also on shops in the town.
“When the Aldi application was considered by the council’s local review body, other members of the body saw this as acceptable competition.
“I wish the businesses well but don’t have the confidence expressed by some of our local councillors that the town can support an extra supermarket.”
Lidl announced last year that it was creating 300 new jobs in Scotland through the opening of eight new-concept stores.
Hawick’s new outlet is part of an investment of £50m in new buildings also in Stirling, Greenock, Patrick and Oban, along with three in Edinburgh.