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Confidence is growing in Grantown as two new businesses open on its High Street after a difficult year

Two businesses have taken over vacant buildings in the Grantown High Street.
Two businesses have taken over vacant buildings in the Grantown High Street.

Against the backdrop of the ever-changing pandemic climate, Grantown’s High Street has welcomed two new additions.

Last year, the Highland town saw most of its outdoors events including their fireworks display being cancelled because of Covid restrictions.

Now, Grantown Business Association chairwoman Karen Martin believes the two new businesses on High Street illustrates “confidence” in the town.

She said: “The two businesses are a sign of continued confidence in the town and add to its vibrancy.

“We can be proud that our High Street is full of independent shops and we should be proud to tell everyone about our town.”

Gordon and Sinead Whyte at the Two Thirsty Men brewery. Photo by Catriona Parmenter Photography.

Gordon and Sinead Whyte took over the Two Thirsty Men brewery in 2018.

Around four years ago, pair moved to the area from Manchester as Gordon pursued his dream of owning his own brewery.

Now, they have opened an off-licence in the High Street.

He said: “When I took over the brewery I had planned to open up a bar in the High Street up until lockdown struck.

“But I felt it wouldn’t be fair to the community to put up more competition.

With lockdown, everything grounded to a halt overnight from 6 or 7 customers to nobody, which was alarming.”

Gordon Whyte

“I changed my plan to an off-licence brewery which was a better thing for the High Street and myself.

“It has been quite difficult time.

“With lockdown, everything grounded to a halt overnight from 6 or 7 customers to nobody, which was alarming.”

Major plans

Mr Whyte hopes to move brewing operations from South Street to their premises on High Street.

It is understood that the former Anne’s Mill Shop on 41 High Street had laid vacant for a decade before the couple purchased it.

He added: ” The off-licence is open and trading.

“The building has been vacant for around 10 years.

“I took ownership of the building, eight months before lockdown struck.

“I’m hopeful of moving our brewing on South Street to the premises on the High Street.

Two Thirsty Men, Grantown.

It is hoped that they are in a position to employ a member of staff in the shop in a few months.

Smarty Art reopens with new owners

Previous owners of popular ceramic paint studio Smarty Art put the business up for sale before the pandemic struck and remained closed after the lockdowns.

Last September, couple Declan and Nikka Gallagher decided to buy the business.

Mr Gallagher explained: “We purchased the business and opened it in December in time for the Christmas rush.

“It is our first time owning our own business and my wife will run it so it is exciting times ahead.

Smarty Art’s Nikka Gallagher, baby son Wesley, and Alison Gallagher, Declan’s mother.

“The school holidays is where it will make its revenue, especially with holidaymakers looking to find activities to do with their young kids.

“My parents own the Royal Fish Bar, so they has been helpful in passing on advice to us.

“It was a no-brainer in the end to take over a existing business which had been popular in Grantown.”

Smarty Art in the Grantown High Street.

He added: “We have put our own stamp on the business and refreshed it with decorations.”

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