After more than 30 years of trading, the couple behind women’s clothing store Smiths of Lerwick are set to hang up their stockings.
Owners Laurence and Louise Smith confirmed this week that their shop, a permanent Commercial Street staple for over three decades, had been sold to The Shetland Fudge Company.
The changeover will take place in the new year, and Mr Smith said that he he will leave with “very mixed emotions”.
“We have been in business a long time, worked hard, seen so many changes and we will leave next year with very mixed emotions.”
The news comes as the building’s new owners, Nicola and Magnus Johnston, look to expand their business in a larger building, and will close both their Shetland Fudge and Island Larder shops to facilitate the move.
Shetland Fudge Company is planning to offer a larger cafe within the new premises, as well as offering more chocolate workshops after their experience with international pastry chef Martin Chiffers earlier this year.
Managing director Mr Johnston said that they had “some big plans” for their new premises.
“We think it is a very exciting prospect for Lerwick’s busy town centre.
“We would like to wish Laurence and Louise all the best for the future and would like to say thank you on behalf of the whole of Shetland for providing the services they have to Commercial Street over the years”.
They said the hope to have completed the switch by next summer.
The Smiths of Lerwick owners also paid tribute to their successors, calling them a “young dynamic local couple” with a dedicated aim of “maintaining a vibrant town centre and seeing Shetland promoted well”.
They also thanked their “long-standing and loyal customers”, saying they were “very grateful for the support” over the years, and gave “huge thanks and appreciation” to their current “fantastic staff”, and to the 214 girls and one man who have worked in the shop across the last 31 years.
Smiths of Lerwick began trading in September 1988 from 97 Commercial Street as a ladies fashion business.
Their expansion continued in 1992 with a specialist lingerie shop opening along “da street” at 56 Commercial Street, followed by a further extension to the main shop being completed in 1994 and the opening of The Bag and Travel Shop on Mounthooly Street in 1996.
Over recent years the business has been consolidated back into the main property at 97 Commercial Street.
Smiths of Lerwick have said that all outstanding gift tokens and credit notes have now been changed, with the final redemption date being 31st January 2020.
Any warranty issues after closure should be taken up directly with the manufacturers.