After the unexpected success and rapid rental of our first shop in Argyll, we travelled a few feet to the right – indeed right next door – and bought the adjacent neighbouring two shops. The end one in particular was very sad looking, having gone out of business a few years prior and been closed down. The previous owner’s efforts to rent out this poor looking ground floor building proved so unsuccessful that they had both remained empty and a blot on the landscape for years.
Good Neighbours? Empty – But Not For Long (c) 2012 Scotslion Collection.
Here another lesson was learnt. Almost instinctively. To use the very old phrase: “everyone needs good neighbours”. We decided the least that should happen, even if the two old shops were to remain empty, was a decent scrub down, clean up and fresh lick of paint. The electricity was reconnected and something displayed in the window with the lights kept on at night to reinforce the fact that this building was being cared for. We started with the one immediately adjacent to the first. Our original tenant quickly asked for a temporary rental agreement as his business was growing and he needed more space. He rented the neighbouring shop. So there were two very yellow shop fronts, but they were also fresh, clean and back in use…
Neighbouring Shops – Tidying Starts (c) 2005 Argyll Group plc Collection.
This brought the second shop to sufficient life that it encouraged us to work on the third. An unexpected consequence was the level of interest that the shop renovation effort was generating. This was reflected in the significant number of viewings. Several prospective tenants were shown round. The last of this trio of shops was soon rented out and a new tenant was more than happy to tidy up and refit the interior to their taste ….
Tenant Helps To Make Good (c) 2005 Argyll Group plc.
Indeed we had to get the outsides painted in double quick time to be ready for the new tenants. By mutual consent we toned down the excess yellow paint. The road was beginning to look like an episode from Balamory!
From Sad To Smart – A Matching Pair (c) 2005 Argyll Group plc Collection.
Good neighbours proved to be good business. Two more derelict looking buildings brought back to life, use, and new jobs. Not that bad for a few friends clubbing together to make a point to HIE and local banks that old closed buildings can be brought back to life.
After the initial acorn of a one-off shop to start, this little adventure had spread to the two empty neighbouring shops. With some work and effort, these two buildings were also brought back into meaningful use. So from one sad empty shop being given some TLC, and this ended up with THREE individual shops being brought back into use.
LESSON: Apart from being a good neighbour, the professional cleaning up and repainting of a closed and empty shop can transform it. Plus make the property appealing to new tenants. This has an effect of breathing life back into a forgotten section of the High Street. It encourages new tenants very quickly, brings buildings back to life, creates jobs. It also has the ancillary benefit of bringing rental income into the bargain. Soon a whole part of a town centre can be revitalised.
The small acorn of a shop from the previous example page having grown from near derelict condition helped the neighbouring shops back into a useful existence. A good result, and the start of many more adventures.