By LOUISE THOMASON
Two familiar faces on Da Street will soon be leaving.
After almost 19 years supplying Shetlanders with their jewellery needs, David and Mildred Johnson of S & R Swanson are selling up to retire.
The Johnsons took over the business in October 1990 from Stanley Swanson and have kept the business much the same as he had run it, with “a good level of business service and customer care”, a philosophy that seems to have paid off for them.
“Our customers have been very loyal and very pleasant,” Mr Johnson said. “In 19 years you could count on one hand any problems we’ve had.”
Over the years they saw many familiar faces coming back, local and tourists alike. “When the Klondykers were here there was a Polish fellow who came in three or four years on the trot!” Mr Johnson said.
You could also guarantee, Mr Johnson said, on certain gentlemen coming in at certain times of the year, such as Christmas and Valentine’s Day and “whenever there was a birthday or anniversary”.
The couple first started thinking about selling up a year ago. However there were problems with the building’s roof and being in a conservation area, resolving them took longer than they first thought and the decision was put off. The roof has since been replaced and they decided it was time to move on.
The decision is “nothing to do with the credit crunch whatsoever,” Mr Johnson said. “There’s been no sign of the credit crunch up here – we’ve not been aware of it,” he said, with the run up to Christmas especially being very busy.
Instead, age is the main reason. The decision comes as Mr Johnson is approaching 60 and they felt it was time to make a change.
“It’s been a very difficult decision to make,” said Mr Johnson. “It’s been very enjoyable over the years.”
The Johnsons hope to spend their retirement enjoying time with their four grandchildren and family, which includes a son and three year old granddaughter in New Zealand. Up until now they have been keeping in touch with a webcam but they think now they will have the time they “would need to go and visit”.
They have had some interest in the business, which is being sold as a going concern with all stock and fittings included.
However it is business as usual until the time comes to go, with new stock for Valentine’s Day already in the shop.
“There will be no change in the business until then and we’d hope whoever takes it on will continue on that basis,” Mr Johnson said.
Asked whether they would miss the shop, Mrs Johnson said: “Oh yes. We’ll definitely miss it. You meet so many folk, its part of your life really.”
Mr Johnson continued: “Health is no problem and if I was 10 years younger there would be no concern. But you have to draw the line somewhere.”