Hawick hardware shop bouncing back from brink of closure

At Wright's Home Hardware in Hawick are manageress Sandra Wylie and sales assistants Sheila Kyle and Alan Irvine.
At Wright's Home Hardware in Hawick are manageress Sandra Wylie and sales assistants Sheila Kyle and Alan Irvine.

A Hawick hardware store has bounced back from being on the brink of closure to taking on more staff as it looks to the future it didn’t think it would get to see.

It was with a heavy heart that company boss Brian Ferguson announced in May that there was no alternative but to shut Wright’s Home Hardware shop in Sandbed this summer.

At Wright's Home Hardware in Hawick are manageress Sandra Wylie and sales assistants Sheila Kyle and Alan Irvine.

At Wright's Home Hardware in Hawick are manageress Sandra Wylie and sales assistants Sheila Kyle and Alan Irvine.

The shop has been a retail stalwart in the town since it opened back in 1983, so when word spread of the store’s closure plans, it prompted an extraordinary public response.

Mr Ferguson said that on hearing the news the “wonderful of people of Hawick” began to offer their support in their droves, leading to a 40% increase in year-on-year sales for May.

That support has led to the shop’s closure plan being reversed, and it will now stay open until at least the end of the year, with hopes high that its long-term future can be secured.

New promotions and products and a 10%-off loyalty card are being planned.

The shop will retain a staff of six, made up of three full-timers and three part-timers.

Though two of the former are leaving, a recruitment drive has been launched to replace them.

Mr Ferguson said: “It has given us renewed hope that we can turn things around and try to keep the shop open for as long as we can.

“We have been overwhelmed by the kind messages we have received from our customers and saddened by the many locals who have told us how much they are going to miss us being in the town.

“Many locals rely on our free local delivery service for orders over £25 for heavy items such as compost and garden machinery in the spring and summer and coal, logs and heaters in the winter months, a service not offered by many of the bigger retailers or at a high cost.

“We have decided to keep the shop open until the end of the year at the very least to see if, with the continued support of the local community, we can turn things around on a more permanent basis and hopefully keep the shop going for a lot longer.”

Mr Ferguson revealed that the original closure decision came after the outlet’s rates had increased by 17.6% in the last couple of years.

He said: “That has had a big impact on our profitability. We currently have a rates appeal in with the council, but we are yet to hear anything back regarding that. However, we have had discussions with councillors and Business Gateway to see if there is any help they can give us, and things sound promising that there may be some support to help us survive.

“In order to give this our best shot and opportunity for success, we are going to have to make some changes to the day-to-day running of the shop which will hopefully secure the jobs of our great staff members who have been so wonderful during this tough time.

“We will now be closing at 5pm rather than 5.30pm as the shop is very quiet between these times, with effect from August 1.

“We have also restructured our weekly staff rota, and I’m delighted to say that all of our part-time staff have agreed to the new rota and are happy with their new hours.

“Our manager and assistant manager, however, have decided to take their redundancy package to pursue other avenues.

“We will have two management positions available, so if you are interested in a new challenge and have retail experience please follow us on Facebook @wrightshhhawick, where these vacancies are currently being advertised.

“We will also be running some new initiatives to try and bring new customers though our doors and to offer even more value and services to our wonderful regular customers.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful Hawick community for giving our family-run business such wonderful support at this tough time and since we opened in the town in 1983.

“Wright’s Home Hardware has 10 stores. The first opened in Prestwick in 1947 and the latest opened in Largs in 2016.

“We have never had to close a store, and we really hope Hawick is not the first.”