Historic Edinburgh ironmongers Grays to close next year

After more than 190 years in business Grays, the ironmongers store in George Street, Edinburgh, is to cease trading next March.

Historic Edinburgh ironmongers Grays to close next year

The closure will coincide with the retirement of a number of senior staff, including owner and managing director Brian Smellie.

Commenting on the decision to close, Smellie said: “We’ve looked into ways of allowing things to continue but neither I nor my senior colleague, Jim Burns, have family interested in following in our footsteps. A number of options have been considered but we feel that this is the correct decision.

“It’s an appropriate juncture to close the store as a number of our staff, including myself, are either at or nearing retirement age.”

The company plans to continue trading as normal until early March 2010. Its final January sale next year will be its closing-down sale.

Grays sells a range of cookshop products and general housewares along with ironmongery, electrical products and fireplaces.

Members of the shop’s 30-plus staff were informed last week of the decision to close the store, and are being helped to find alternative employment.

Grays was founded by James Gray in 1818. It moved to George Street in 1850 from its original Leith Wynd site – initially to No 85 and then to its current location at No 89 in 1903.

Smellie paid tribute to his customers and staff, and added: “It will be the end of an era when we close our store next year after such a long history, particularly associated with the city centre.

“Most hardware and ironmongery shops have long since departed from city centres but we’ve enjoyed selling our practical household goods amongst high class ladies’ fashion and jewellery shops.”

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