Final touches made to Hillswick shop in prepration for re-opening

The Hillswick shop is to re-open next week after being bought and completely refurbished by the local community.

Local volunteers have spent hundreds of hours and donated hundreds of pounds to bring back the shop, which closed last February when its former owners went out of business.

The century-old establishment was purchased in July by the Northmavine Community Develop­ment Company (NCDC), with the help of a £50,000 grant from the Community Land Unit of Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

The premises were completely gutted and an intense programme of work was co-ordinated to renovate the building from top to bottom, outside and in.

A shop committee was formed and has now employed Eileen Mullay as shop manager and Vivienne Garriock and Shane Laurenson as part-time assistants.

The shop will open for business at 2pm on Thursday, with an opening ceremony at 6.30pm with refreshments.

Shop committee vice-chairman Peter Sinclair said: “Everyone has done a tremendous job helping to give back Hillswick a shop which it can be proud of. It has been a lot of work, but we’re getting to the final stages now and it’s great to see the place taking shape.”

The refurbishment was a greater task than had been originally foreseen, Mr Sinclair said, but 90 per cent of the work has been carried out by local volunteers.

“The only way we have managed this is because of the amount of community support there has been and I would like to thank all the people who have helped out in any way.

“We just hope that folk show as much enthusiasm for supporting the shop once it is open as they have for the refurbishment.”

Shetland Islands Council’s economic development unit has awarded £10,000 from its rural shop scheme to help with the renovation and provided £5,000 working capital to provide stock.

With many folk travelling outwith the area to work, the shop will be open until 7pm at night, except on Sundays when it will close at 5pm. It will also open at 7.30am on Fridays.


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