Sorrow as Hawick soft-play business shuts down

Charlotte and Keith Graham at the Enchanted Hollow with their two youngest children, Ruby and Lachlan.
Charlotte and Keith Graham at the Enchanted Hollow with their two youngest children, Ruby and Lachlan.

A soft-play centre for children has been forced to close because of a downturn in business.

Keith and Charlotte Graham, of Wilton Hill in Hawick, transformed an old joinery workshop in the town’s Commercial Road into the facility, calling it the Enchanted Hollow.

The couple were inspired to open the venue, including a cafe, in December 2017 after they visited a similar facility in Galashiels with their two youngest children, Ruby and Lachlan, aged seven and four at the time.

Their plan was to fill what they saw as a gap in the market, there being no other soft-play area of similar size in Hawick at that time.

They invested £20,000 of their own savings, secured a £20,000 business loan and were given £3,500 from the Scottish Borders Business Fund to make their dream a reality.

However, the couple have now been forced to call it a day.

In a statement on the venue’s Facebook page, they say: “We have made the hard decision to close our doors for good due to the downturn in the business and for family reasons.

“We apologise to all our regular customers for this decision and thank you for all your loyalty.

“We will miss you all.”

The public announcement has sparked dozens of reactions on social media sites, with the overwhelming majority of parents expressing disappointment.

“Natalie Leszczynska posted: “January is such a quiet month everywhere. People don’t have any money after Christmas.”

Rebekah Mackenzie said: “I’m gutted to read this. Madason loved Enchanted Hollow. It will be a big miss to us. So much hard work and love put into it. All the best to you and your family, Charlotte.”

Mark Botherston said: “It can’t have been an easy decision. Thanks for the blast while it lasted.”

The Enchanted Hollow offered three play areas – one for children up to two; a larger one with a ball pit, slides, cargo netting and obstacles to clamber over; and a creative area with tents and dress-up facilities.