High Street news man who’s right at the heart of daily life in Falkirk

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In the ten years since taking over High Street News in its prime town centre location, owner Mohammed Arshad has seen plenty of changes taking place right in front of his eyes.

“There are vacant units and even the big stores seem affected,” he says, “and that’s never good for town centre traders these shops draw custom to the area.”

He’s seen the whole face of the newsagent’s business change out of all recognition too, with the focus switching increasingly to online coverage.

However at the same time his shop still sells plenty of Falkirk Heralds, and that in turn does generate some extra incremental sales from people who inevitably buy other items when they’re in buying their weekly copy.

“It’s tougher than it was for just about everyone”, he says, “There are not many real newsagents left - but many people still see it as an important service.”

He takes the challenges in his stride, perhaps taking a little comfort from the fact that in a rapidly-changing world there are still some constant factors - the Falkirk Herald being one - which lend a special dimension to an essentially local enterprise.

It might be a more complicated job than it was a few years ago, but the whole business of sorting newspapers and a vast proliferation of magazines for a customer base that relies on perfect service every single time has never fazed this hard-working, iconic Falkirk store.

He agrees that while a lot of people increasingly rely on online coverage for actual news there are also plenty who like to see the physical paper product in one coherent package.

“News sales are an important part of the overall offer in a shop like this,” he says, “and in some ways that hasn’t really changed over the years”.

The irony is perhaps that while some traders would see empty units as a welcome lack of competition this highly experienced trader takes the opposite tack .

A vibrant High Street will naturally attract more people, and therefore more business for everyone with a reliably popular product to sell.

You don’t command heavy volume sales just by being at the right address, but that key local presence is a definite advantage.

Regardless of how local shopping develops in the immediate future his long-established business is surely set to remain a lynchpin of the local retail scene or many years to come.