Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Why Elgin High Street will always be the place to be for Little the Jewellers

Four generations of the same family have steered the firm through changing times in the town centre since 1960.

Sian Little leaning on display cabinet inside Little the Jewellers.
Sian Little is the latest generation to join the management of Little the Jewellers. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Little the Jewellers has been a mainstay in Elgin town centre for more than six decades and its prominent High Street location is still the jewel in its crown.

While national chains have come and gone from the historic heart, the family firm has remained a constant presence.

The High Street has changed completely since Little’s the Jewellers opened in 1960.

The road was still the main Aberdeen to Inverness road, cars could park at the door, the Edgar Road retail parks were fields and online shopping was unimaginable.

Despite the changes though, the High Street remains the place to be for this Elgin business.

How Little the Jewellers has thrived for 64 years

John Little, better known as Jab, opened in Elgin after previously travelling around Scotland selling jewellery for his father’s Glasgow-based business.

Visits to Moray were a highlight for him, so when the opportunity came to buy on the town’s Commerce Street, he jumped at the chance.

Sian Little leaning on wall outside Little the Jewellers.
Little the Jewellers is one of the most prominent shops on Elgin High Street. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

The firm is now in its fourth generation of family management with Sian Little, Jab’s great-grandaughter, joining her aunt and Jab’s granddaughter Karen Mackay in the day-to-day running last year after 10 years as a sales assistant.

Despite its storied heritage in Elgin, Sian revealed the firm was always innovating and experimenting to stay on top.

Giving the customer an experience they won’t get from a mobile phone or tablet remains their primary mission though.

Black and white photo Robert Little outside shop.
Little the Jeweller’s roots can be traced back to Sian’s great-great-grandfather’s shop in Glasgow. Image: Little family.

Ms Little said: “We have a mix of customers. There are a lot of loyal regulars who we’ll see a few times a year and we get a lot of people looking for that special one-off purchase.

“What we try and do is really narrow down what the customer is looking for. Is it gold or silver? Is it something more traditional? If so, we’ve got a Scottish range.

“We really try to give them that experience, build a rapport with them, so really get what they’re after, which is why so many keep coming to us for years.”

Could special offers on parking help encourage Elgin shopping?

With a bright cabinet display, Little the Jewellers is putting itself on display for Elgin High Street window shoppers looking for that special something.

Ms Little said: “It always makes us so proud to have such a strong presence on the High Street.”

Attracting shoppers into Elgin town centre though is becoming increasingly challenging.

The Edgar Road retail parks have never been as occupied and online shopping trends are here to stay.

Cars parked in Edgar Road retail park in Elgin.
High Street firms face competition from retail parks where parking is free. Image: DC Thomson

However, Ms Little believes parking incentives for shoppers could make the High Street more attractive.

She said: “Where we are, on the High Street and Commerce Street, parking is definitely a big issue for us.

“Potentially looking at periods of free parking, I think that works really well at driving footfall.

“It was done during Covid and has been done at Christmas and we definitely saw footfall increasing during those times.

“When you look at the retail parks, they’ve got massive car parks and they’re free. Some offers in the town centre could help compete with that.”

‘Give people a reason to spend longer on Elgin High Street’

A recent town centre “health check” in Elgin run by Moray Council last year highlighted the evening economy and daytime events as current weaknesses.

Ms Little believes the High Street needs to be made a more comfortable and welcoming area to spend afternoons with friends and family.

It is hoped the reopening of Poundland will spruce up one end of the Plainstones, but the Little the Jewellers boss believes more can be done.

Sian Little standing outside Little the Jewellers.
Sian Little would like more to be done to encourage shoppers to linger on the High Street. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

She said: “More benches would be good. It would make such a difference, especially in the summer.

Elgin Bid put in a few and they are so popular. Everyone loves them. From our window we can see people sitting outside really enjoying them.

“They bring people into the town and let them spend longer in the High Street.

“There are so many amazing businesses in Elgin, it’s really important to find ways to encourage people to shop local to support them all.”

Little the Jewellers constantly innovating to move with changing times on the High Street

With more than 60 years in business in Elgin behind them, Little the Jewellers have had to move with changing times on the High Street.

Ms Little is constantly monitoring changing trends to ensure they are keeping up with what shoppers want.

She said: “Last year we introduced Little Spark, which is permanent jewellery. It can be bracelets welded together instead of being able to open with a clasp.

“It’s really popular at the moment. We get a lot of mothers and daughters coming in together to get them to complement each other.

Sian Little leaning on display cabine inside Little the Jewellers.
Sian Little is always looking out for the latest trends. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

“Fashions change though. At some points gold is in, then it’s silver, then it’s rose gold and then it can be back to silver again. It’s so important to keep on top of it.”

And like changing trends in fashion, Ms Little believes it’s essential to keep up with changing business trends on the High Street.

With a growing number of national retailers leaving the town centre, Ms Little says it’s essential to find incentives for local firms to fill their place.

She said: “Getting the empty shops filled would be amazing, particularly in the St Giles Centre because there are so many spaces in there.

“I don’t know if something can be looked at in terms of rents and rates to encourage people to move in. There needs to be some incentives, I think.”