Independent retailers in Scotland are fiercely divided over the results of the referendum, but are united in their desire to capitalise on the recent upsurge in patriotism, early reactions indicate.
With the Scottish people voting to remain in the UK by a 10% margin, retailers have voiced contrasting opinions on the result.
Linda Williams, of Premier Broadway in Edinburgh, said she was relieved from a business perspective. “So many companies didn’t have contingency plans and if the result had of been Yes I think things would have suddenly become very chaotic,” she said. “I think that now that the vote has been cast there will be an upsurge in patriotism, and hopefully of the good kind.”
Neil Babington, of Scott Street Convenience Stores, Galashiels, said: “I’m extremely happy. There was too much uncertainty in the Yes camp. I asked them questions directly and they couldn’t answer, such as on the currency union and pensions.”
But Abbie Houston, of Bridgend Service Station Fife, said: “We’re absolutely gutted by the result. An independent Scotland would have been beneficial for everyone, especially businesses. I knew it was going to be close but I’m disappointed by the result.
“Even though I’m not happy with the result, some good has come of it and Scottish people have become more confident about their identity.”
Sid Ali, of Nisa Mintlaw and Maud Aberdeenshire, said he was also “very disappointed” with the result.
“I genuinely thought Yes would win, and I didn’t expect the result to be so clear cut,” he added.
“It would be far better to control our own country on all policy areas. For example, immigration policy is aimed at England, but we need more immigrants in Scotland, and we should have a lower corporation tax to encourage more businesses to move here.”
However, he said it was now vital to “capture the spirit” of patriotism. “I think the mults will try to be more Scottish and engage more with customers. But I’m hoping Nisa will help us be more Scottish and relevant to our customer base. We are in the process of highlighting our local suppliers and the provenance of products, and there’s now more urgency to go down this path.”
Shaun Marwaha, who owns five Premier stores in Glasgow, said: “There has been a lot more of a patriotic feel among customers and there’s definitely been more footfall in the store of late. With a name like Scotfresh, you’d hope so! We’ll be trying to keep this going by stocking more Scottish products where possible and highlighting them to customers.”