New shops bring back vibrancy to Galashiels town centre

A number of businesses have moved into premises in Galashiels in the past month, bringing back life to the town centre.

Melissa Learmonth, founder and owner of Honey Be Bright, decided to expand her textiles and prints business. She said: “It felt like the natural next step for my small business. It was definitely never-wracking, but I’ve felt so welcomed by the local business community!”

Opening their doors mid-September, Honey Be Bright joined a few other businesses that have taken that same leap.

Bulldog Bakes opened in early September, offering freshly baked goods and hot drinks in their dog-friendly shop. Owner Aaron Murphy said: “We’ve been in Galashiels for a few years now, but we’re so excited to finally have an actual shop on Channel Street! The response to our opening has been amazing and we’re super excited for what’s to come.”

Nicola Tonner, a certified make-up artist and nail technician, will be opening her own studio on Channel Street in October and has been working evenings and weekends to get everything ready. She said: “It’s been very hectic and exhausting, but it’s also super rewarding. The support from Galashiels Heartland has been amazing too.

“They included me in their ‘Love Local’ campaign during lockdown when I started my business, and now they’re supporting me while I’m working on opening my own studio. I’m really grateful for everything they do for the local community, you can definitely see the changes.”

Energise Galashiels Trust have also been doing a lot of improvement work on the empty shopfronts in the town centre and are delighted that some vacant properties are being filled.

Mike Gray, Chair of Energise Galashiels Trust, commented: “The last round of improvement grants and the work done on the empty shopfronts have helped enhance the look of the town.

“Having new businesses moving into premises across the town centre is brilliant and we know that it will have a positive effect on the town as whole. We look forward to continuing our support of the local business community.”

Several businesses across the town have been awarded funds through the new Property Transformation Grant Scheme which supports new enterprises develop town centre properties that have been vacant for some time. To apply for this grant, businesses can contact bbg3@thomsongray.com.

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