When a store is in a hard to reach or relatively untravelled area, it can be difficult to get the desired footfall. Indeed I lived in Inverness for almost 3 years and I had no idea this charity shop existed – which really is a shame as it’s a lovely shop. Set back from the main drag down Meal Market Close, a passageway (alley way sounds anti-pedestrian) that links the High Street with Baron Taylor Street, nestles Chest Heart Stroke Scotland, Inverness.
Shops that are ‘locationally challenged’ are privy to both pros an cons as I discussed with the store manager Louise. She has managed this shop from the very beginning and relished the opportunity to set something up from scratch. This store opened up 10 years ago and Louise has seen some of the pitfalls and positives first hand.
“We ran a coffee shop just next door but unfortunately this closed down three years ago… As a location that is less well known we are privy to lower rents but some people struggle to find us”
She runs this shop with the help of 26 volunteers, a lady called Janice was helping her on that particular day (Saturday 18th August), but she was even less keen to be photographed than Louise!
Again this store retains very lovely decoration that seems to be a feature of all the Chest Heart Stroke Scotland stores that I have visited. Bold pink, black and white all help with the boutique feel and Louise tells me that there is a real emphasis on getting the pricing right. I discussed with her the pricing of some of the Jane Shilton bags in the Cults Store, and she agreed that they may have been a little misguided in their pricing, however in general it is important for them to get the prices right in order to maximise their profits. The money raised by Chest Heart Stroke goes to valuable causes such as fundraising for research into:
- Coronary heart disease – one of Scotland’s biggest killers.
- Stroke – the main cause of disability in the community.
- Chest illnesses – various kinds of chest illness are the biggest single reason people use the health service.
They fund research into all aspects of prevention, diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and the social impact of chest heart and stroke illness. Their current programme is worth more than £1 million.
This store is very neat and tidy, well maintained racks are full of clothing, but not too full, which aids browsing and in general prevents mess.
One of the gems that I found here was a Nicole Fahri top, this could set you back anything from £125 to £175 RRP so £15 was very good value. This is a charity that places emphasis on getting the prices just right, they don’t want the pricing so high to put shoppers off, many people won’t recognise this as a designer brand so may consider £15 too expensive, but it is important for them to make the money that they require in order to fund their research programme.
This top is in stark contrast to the Nicole Farhi trousers that I found in Barnardos the other week for £1.99 (we went back with my Glamorous Assistant and her mum, Babs, so that Babs could buy them. In reality the trousers would have cost around £145 new, so Barnardos missed a trick there with their pricing, and their cause may have lost out. They could have easily got £10 for them.
I had a further discussion with Louise about their Cults store and how a lot of the best designer items are redirected to that shop due to the area that it sits in. Cults, although wealthy, is similar to this location because it is not a destination that people habitually visit, it is just that, a destination. With these kinds of locations it is necessary to give people a reason to visit, the venture away from their normal haunts and peruse the aisles of a shop less travelled. I think that CHS Scotland need to give some real consideration to making this a ‘destination store’ and promoting it as such, divvying out the great donations to this store as well as Cults. I believe it is well worthy of the special treatment.