IT’S a time for celebration for the Stewart family as its independent store Juniper celebrates 50 years in business.
It’s a well-known name in Aberdeen with it first opening in Holburn Street in 1971 before moving to Belmont Street in 1987.
Despite all the challenges facing the retail sector due to Covid-19, the business has survived – with credit being paid to its e-commerce website.
Juniper was first opened by June Stewart and is now run with the help of son Jamie.
The 39-year-old admits there’s been tough times but he’s proud of the family business achievements.
He said: “The lockdowns have really shown us how much customers value face to face interaction and we are continually told that you can’t beat having a physical premises for customers to be able to browse and see items before purchasing.
“Having a personal service is very valuable to our customers too. There has obviously been a loss of local shops in the centre so we are proud to still be able to open our doors.”
Importance of e-commerce for survival
Juniper stocks a large range of traditional and contemporary jewellery, giftware and homeware and includes brands such as Sheila Fleet, Nomination and Dartington.
The website was launched in 2008 and Jamie continually makes sure it stays up to date with their latest products and offerings, especially as it’s been a big part of navigating through Covid-19.
He said: “We were very lucky that we already had our website up and established long before we had to close for the lockdowns.
“Online orders were operating as normal throughout and we were able to answer email enquiries and assist over the phone too.
While it has proved successful and kept us afloat, it is not comparable to having a busy day of customers in store.”
“It has definitely put an emphasis on how important it is to communicate with our customer base through each different medium so we are continuing to focus on showing stock and sharing our story through social media.
“While it has proved successful and kept us afloat, it is not comparable to having a busy day of customers in store.”
Jamie has been working in the shop for the past 15 years and is very proud to be part of the 50th anniversary celebrations.
He said: “From a very young age, I was coming into the shop – and even attending trade fairs – so it is very much a way of life for us.
I really enjoy interacting with customers on a day to day basis and my passion lies in contributing to the local area, whether that is hiring employees or stocking local makers.”
“After studying business studies at university, I started working in the shop full-time at 24 years old.
“I really enjoy interacting with customers on a day to day basis and my passion lies in contributing to the local area, whether that is hiring employees or stocking local makers.”
Loyal customer base the past 50 years
To mark the special anniversary Jamie plans on doing some giveaways to thank his customers.
He said: “Because of Covid, it is really hard to think too far in the future. We almost still have to take things on a week by week, if not day-by-day basis, and continually assess what our next move will be.
“For now, we are focusing on the positives and celebrating our 50th year in business. We are running a series of giveaways through our Facebook page and are looking to do some in store too.
“We really wanted to pay it back to all of our loyal customers who have seen us through these difficult times and say a massive thank you to them all.
“To be marking 50 years open is a massive achievement for us.”
Jamie has shown his support for the North East Now campaign, which has made it easy for people to support local firms from a wide range of industries during the pandemic.
“The site looks fantastic, is easy to navigate and is a really comprehensive guide to lots of local businesses throughout Aberdeen,” Jamie said. “It’s a very welcome and useful site, especially in these current times when local businesses will need a boost.
“Sometimes it can be hard to find out about local or up and coming businesses so to have them listed in one space is really useful for both them and potential customers.”
For further information on Juniper, visit www.juniperaberdeen.co.uk
To find out more about North-East Now, visit www.northeastnow.scot
To share your positive business story, email firstname.lastname@example.org