Don’t desert us, say retailers

Alison Strachan
Alison Strachan
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Cuparians are being urged to continue to support the town centre shops despite the upheaval created by the ongoing road improvements.

Retailers in the Crossgate are keen to get the message across that it’s ‘business as usual’ and that despite the loss of parking spaces there is still ample free parking close by.

And it’s been confirmed that Fife Farmers’ Market will go ahead tomorrow (Saturday) as planned.

However shopkeepers say that the re-routing of buses is taking its toll on business and that many older customers are staying away.

Dora Gage, manager of Fisher and Donaldson, said that trade was so slow that she had sent two of her staff to work at the company’s St Andrews branch.

“We have lost around a hundred customers a day,” she told the Fife Herald.

“Many of our regulars are elderly and have been put off coming into town as the bus stop has been re-located and the pavement outside the shop is so narrow that they find it difficult to negotiate.”

One 78-year-old woman from Robertson Road, who didn’t wish to be named, said she was having a ‘practice run’ ahead of her hospital appointment the following day.

“I have just five minutes to get from the bus stop at the Central Café up to the YMCA to catch my connection to Dundee”, she said.

“If one bus is a bit late and the other a bit early then I’ve had it. I just hope the bus drivers will be understanding towards us pensioners.”

Meanwhile retailers are hoping that the inconvenience won’t put shoppers off from visiting Crossgate as the Christmas shopping season gets under way.

“In an ideal world, the work on Crossgate, being a main retail area, would have been scheduled to take place in early 2014,” said Graeme Black of Funky Rascal.

“But it’s happening now and shops and businesses are still here and still open. We hope that people who value Cupar’s retailers will continue to be supportive, despite a bit of inconvenience. There’s still plenty of very reasonable and even free parking in and around the centre of Cupar.”

He continued: “As a collection of local businesses, Cupar’s independent shops support a huge number of other local businesses, who in turn employ even more people in and around Cupar. And as a community, we all have to work a bit harder at times to support each other.”

Alison Strachan of Maisie and Mac said that business had been ‘up and down’ since the roadworks started.

“It seems that historically people get frightened off from coming to Cupar if there’s road works/lane closures but I’d hope that if there is good information put out about the works affecting only one area at a time customers will persevere!

“We have to stay positive and get the message out there that Cupar is still open for business as usual.”

The project in Crossgate is the first phase of a programme of works scheduled to last until July 2014.