New lease of life for Forfar shops

Two prominent Forfar shops will receive renewed leases of life as two businesses are set to move into the Castle Street premises.

Nickel & Dime is poised to move from its current East High Street shop to the former David Irons & Son ironmongers, while coffee shop chain Costa has plans to move into the empty Stead & Simpson shoe shop further along the street.

Raza Ahmed, owner of Nickel & Dime, said he has been looking for larger premises for around the last 10 years and was keen to move into the store after the ironmonger closed last summer.

With the shop currently undergoing some alterations, Mr Ahmed aims to open his new store, one of three he runs in the Angus area, next Thursday (May 28).

He said: “We’ll be opening on two levels as before and giving our customers more variety.

“I’ve always wanted to move into Castle Street and bigger premises but there were none available but then this opportunity came along.”

Irons closed its doors after its last owner, the Earl of Strathmore and Kinghorne, found it difficult to keep trading in the face of competition from local supermarkets, discount retailers and the internet. He also blamed costs attached to the renovation of the premises to comply with fire regulations and increasing overheads.

Lord Strathmore bought the store in 2005 from Marshall and Michael Irons, whose great-great grandfather, George, established the business in 1840. The shop developed to sell a wide range of goods, from hardware and household electrical items to tableware and decorative items.

Mr Ahmed continued: “Lord Strathmore contacted me and he wanted me to take it over if I wanted to, and we then just struck a deal. It’s such a nice building and it’s not good to see it shut up.”

Mr Ahmed said that although some internal alterations are being carried out, these have been true to the heritage of the building.

He added: “I’ve kept all the old features, even the floorboards although they’ve been covered over; they’re still there. It’s a mix of the old and the new, but any changes have been cosmetic.”