Could it be the end of town centres?

Worries over another store closing down in Ellon.
Worries over another store closing down in Ellon.

It’s the end of an era, one that has lasted for 40 years in Ellon, with Grays haberdashery and clothing store serving the town well in all that time.

Some might say it’s merely symptomatic of a new way in which we shop nowadays, but there are still plenty who want to see, feel and check out their purchases personally.

Not for everyone is the online method the ‘way to go’ - yes, it may be cheaper - sometimes, but at what cost to the community?

In this case, owner Pauline Hourston said: “Ellon is just not as busy as it once was. There are shops closing everywhere, people are shopping online and nobody can compete with the likes of Aldi.

“I’ve had the best time over the last 19 years. The customers have been so lovely and it’s been an absolute pleasure but I’ve been thinking about it for a while and it’s the best decision for my family and I.

“It’s been emotional, and I spent a lot of time crying, but it’s the right time.”

The local shop, where you could buy anything from a button to a bin is the latest in a number of local closures leading to fears in Ellon that the town is at risk of losing all its independent stores to the multi-national chains.

Business Gateway’s Andrew Burnett, meanwhile, said the announcements were disappointing but not surprising.

“Businesses close for a number of different reasons, but in the north-east the success or otherwise of businesses is usually connected in some way, shape or form with the oil and gas industry,” he said.

“With the downturn, it’s no surprise that businesses are having to redesign how they go forward.

“The earlier we can get involved when businesses are in trouble, the more chance we have of helping them survive.

“Unfortunately in the case of this business, it’s too late.”

George Stewart, chair of Ellon Community Council said the closure decision was “disheartening” as it would result in a loss of jobs and services for residents.