Borders trader ‘a true champion of local businesses’

A BORDERS businessman has been hailed as a high street legend for promoting fellow traders in his town.

Shop owners and locals have heaped praise on Ian McFadyen for his community spirit, calling him “an ambassador for Peebles”.

Ian, who owns the House of Gaia with his wife Paula, often closes the doors to his High Street shop to operate a live video feed.

Streaming through his social media page, he gives details on every business in the town and tells his audience what they have to offer.

Café owners Della Murray and Artur Budenko told the Border Telegraph: “Ian is a real advocate for the High Street and surrounding areas.

“A true champion of local businesses. Full credit must be given to him for all that he does for us.”

Ian and Paula are the proprietors of a mind body and spirit shop, which boasts one of the largest selections of crystals in Scotland.

The couple recently helped NHS hospitals create chill-out zones for stressed medical staff fighting the coronavirus.

They donated goods to the Borders General Hospital, Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and Hay Lodge Community Hospital.

Their High Street shop is now back open and we caught up with Ian to ask how the first day went.

“It was fantastic – we had a full shop throughout most of the day,” he said.

“We had people posting on Facebook saying that they wanted to come to the shop.

“A family who lived in Peebles, and have now moved to Edinburgh, came down specifically for the shop opening – which was great.

“People have been super respectful of each other, social distancing and staying safe.

“There is a massive difference in the High Street and the atmosphere as the connections are being made again.

“As a community we’re a community of shopkeepers as well. When we see services like Coltman’s Restaurant close and then reopen again, it’s fantastic.

“Nobody is going to come to Peebles for one shop – we need different services.”

“I’m new to retail and I had no idea how difficult it would be. The glory days of retail on the High Street are gone so it’s very hand to mouth with people.

“When I see people opening their doors, or not able to open their doors, or struggling to purchase new stock or new lines, I feel that.

“I feel exactly what every other shopkeeper or business has in the High Street.”

A humble man, Ian is quick to praise other businesses for their efforts through the lockdown.

“I look at shops like Scott Brothers which has been servicing the community for years.

“I’ve been in Peebles on and off for 28 years and since the day I first came here that shop has been open.

“They’ve had to deal with massive changes in retail, like big multinationals like B&Q and Screwfix coming in and really affecting their business.

“Yet throughout the lockdown they were open and servicing their local community and that needs to be recognised.”

True to form, the day after reopening, Ian popped a ‘Back in 10 minutes” sign on his shop door.

He proceeded along the High Street giving a shout-out to his neighbouring retailers and businesses in a live vlog, to which one viewer wrote: “You’re a Peebles legend.”

Border Telegraph | News