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Brogue trader calls it a day after 60 years as Denny loses part of its soul

Jan Arbuckle has blamed a lack of footfall in Denny town centre for her decision to close the 60-year-old A.C. Gillespie shoe business. Picture: John Devlin

Jan Arbuckle has blamed a lack of footfall in Denny town centre for her decision to close the 60-year-old A.C. Gillespie shoe business. Picture: John Devlin

 

A Denny shoe shop which has been trading for more than 60 years has become the latest town centre business to announce that it is closing down.

A.C. Gillespie in Stirling Street has served generations of people from the former burgh but will close its doors for the final time on Friday, March 14.

Store owner Jan Arbuckle has blamed a dramatic decline in the number of shoppers using Denny amid ongoing regeneration work in the town centre for her decision to close the business.

“Footfall has decreased hugely in the past 12 months,” she said. “We still have some older regular customers, but young people are just not using the town centre to shop anymore.”

The 38-year-old from Bonnybridge took over Gillespie’s in November 2007, which had previously been family owned for at least two generations.

“I bought the business from John Gillespie, he was at least the second generation to own it,” she said.

“John continued to work as a cobbler in the shop for a few years afterwards, but has now retired.”

The shop is opposite Church Walk, which is being demolished in stages as part of a Falkirk Council scheme to regenerate the area. A replacement building, housing a library and nine shops, is due to be complete by 2017.

“Looking at the shops that are left in Denny, and the ones that might come in, I don’t see anything that will attract more people to the town,” added Jan. “Building work will be going on for another two to three years at least, I just don’t see the situation improving.”

Jan now plans to rent out the store while considering her next move.

“I would like to thank all of our loyal customers. Some of them have been shopping here for decades,” she said. “I’ll miss them.”

 

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