A BORDERS town is said to be experiencing a “renaissance”, with seven new shops having thrown open their doors recently.
A variety of stores have joined the high street in Selkirk, some of them offering products and services previously not found in the town.
A spokesperson for Explore Selkirk said: “Selkirk is going through a renaissance, and the town has a real feeling of optimism.
“Whilst other high streets have struggled to keep shops open during the pandemic, Selkirk has seen seven new shops open in the town centre.”
The Border Telegraph toured the town with Explore Selkirk, meeting the business owners.
Many were upbeat about launching during the pandemic.
“To be honest, it probably couldn’t have happened at a better time,” said Tracey Ward, who runs Number One delicatessen with her husband Trevor.
She added: “Some folk thought we were mad opening up in the middle of a pandemic but it’s been really good – in fact we’ve been able to concentrate on it as well.”
The couple also own The Fleece Bar and Kitchen in the town.
Trevor added: “We’ve been open eight weeks now. We were well supported by the local community when the first lockdown came.
“There’s a lot of good will out there and we’re thankful for that.”
Catherine Inglis took over the Selkirk Deli and renamed it the Peony Rose Coffee House.
She offered on-the-door takeaways before being allowed to welcome guests indoors last week.
Catherine said: “It’s been a challenge.
“But I’ve been very lucky as I’ve had the opportunity to get it how I want.
“Every cloud has a silver lining.”
For some local residents, searching for tools and DIY items use to mean having to travel to shops in other Borders towns; now, however, shoppers looking for lightbulbs, tools and even pet supplies can find them closer to home at Ideal Hardware & Home Essentials.
Lorna Hanif is the owner of the store, which opened in October.
She told this newspaper: “Business has been steady, we’ve been well supported.”
Meanwhile, on Market Place, The General Store repairs broken items and sells upcycled goods.
Founded by Sue Briggs and Dot Torrance, the repair shop has been operating since before Christmas – but the retail side of The General Store has only just opened.
The team’s ethos is that damage doesn’t make something useless.
“Something can be beautiful even if it’s damaged,” Sue said.
They hope that by offering repair services, as well as selling beautiful upcycled items made by local creators, they can start a conversation about eco-friendly living and making the most of what we have now.
Basanti India – which sells ethically sourced gifts and accessories and did have a temporary presence in the town – has now moved to permanent premises.
Owner Imogen Kennedy told us: “I lived in India for 11 years; I know all my providers.
“I started in the pop-up on Tower Street – it’s a great launch pad.
“It’s really nice to have a permanent place on the high street.”
And for anyone with a sweet tooth, Skinny’s on Market Place serves waffles, ice-cream and a range of lunchtime snacks.
Co-owner Shirley Singhtoor said: “We’ve had lots of interest.
“We just want to spread the word and see how things go.”
Also newly opened is the Burnside Gallery and Frames, run by Javier Ternero and Charly Murray.
They said: “Selkirk has been wonderful, very welcoming. There’s a diversity of businesses here.”
For more information on the range of businesses in Selkirk, you can visit: exploreselkirk.co.uk