At the end of 2017 a few people asked us why some of Linlithgow’s shops and cafes have closed. At the last count there were 151 businesses on the High Street, 72 on the industrial estate, and 190 or so others spread across the rest of the town. Businesses tend to come and go for a variety of reasons. Linlithgow High Street tends to have a rolling list of 5 or 6 empty units all the time, roughly 4%. Some of the units on the High Street are very small, so successful businesses sometimes have to vacate to move somewhere bigger. This accounts for most of the empty units at the moment, so having a few empty shops isn’t always a sign of things failing! Sometimes it is the result of start-ups being successful.
There’s a constant churn of businesses throughout the town. Its a sign of vibrancy as opposed to stagnation. Units are often only empty for 3 or 4 months while new tenants are being found and new leases are being signed. Running a small businesses is always a challenge, the business paradigm is constantly shifting and there’s no room for complacency, but its not all doom and gloom! We have some very successful businesses in our town.
The High Street businesses that tend to thrive are those offering things you can’t get on the internet (fresh cream cakes, fresh fish, hot coffee, space to meet friends, haircuts) or face-to-face services (such as architects, solicitors, accountants, dentists, cake decorators). The night-time economy (pubs, restaurants, hotels) shouldn’t be forgotten either.
Shops that are thriving tend to have a strong on-line presence, selling as much (if not more) through the internet as they do through the shop. By having a foot in both camps they really can beat the internet at its own game.
The closure of the TSB, RBS and Santander will bring some additional challenges but new businesses are already vying for the retail space. There’s plenty of room for optimism in 2018!