As Time & Tide celebrates its tenth year in North Berwick, owner Ewan Douglas reflects on the last ten years.
Time & Tide is ten years old – having opened our doors for the first time at No 48 High Street on 9th May 2009. The banking crash had just occurred, it was a period of great economic uncertainty – so not a lot has changed!
We believed there was a market for a cool seaside gift shop. This was years before stores such as John Lewis were marketing the nautical look as an interiors trend. We sold shells, light houses, baskets and a lot of bunting! Occasional furniture, mirrors and lighting were selling well despite the small space so when a larger unit became available six months later, across the road at No 11, we jumped at the opportunity. And so began nine years of answering the question “why have you got two shops on the same street?”. And, the answer is – we don’t know, we just have, it seems normal now – like breathing!
For us, the interiors product with a relaxed, pared back look was doing well. We opened in Peebles in the same year and then in Edinburgh’s Morningside in 2011. The small Morningside unit was replaced by a larger store in Church Hill Place in 2014. By then we had also opened on Byres Road in Glasgow’s West End. Glasgow was particularly strong for furniture so we opened a dedicated furniture store in 2017 – nine times the size of either of the North Berwick stores. A store large enough for a dozen sofas and half a dozen dining tables. In 2016 a tourist-orientated store off the Royal Mile completed our portfolio of seven stores. This is a number we are happy to service with no plans for more. But really, none of them were ever really planned – we just found buildings we liked, on streets we thought might have an audience.
We believe great countries, cities and towns should have good independent shops and within that, they should have interesting interiors shops. Scotland simply does not have enough of them – compared to, say, the large number of good art galleries. And we hope we contribute something here. Yes, we trade online and are continually investing in improving this, but essentially we are store-based and we love trying to improve the merchandise and look of our spaces.
A lot has changed over the last ten years. North Berwick high street has improved immensely with many quality independent shops across a variety of sectors. It really is one of the very best high streets in Scotland. And, interiors have definitely become more colourful again but our ethos, of providing contemporary interior products that stand the test of time and represent good value for money, remains.
We owe North Berwick so much. This town provides a great audience of locals, day trippers and holiday visitors who want quality, inspiring products. We are very aware that our business probably would not have grown had it not been for North Berwick and the fantastic support of the local community. We have made many friends, and that is the best thing about it all!
TIME & TIDE
North Berwick | Edinburgh | Glasgow | Peebles