Regular visitors to Leslie’s High Street will know one of its best-known shops has opened its doors once again.
Boss David Morrison is reassuring customers that Planet Furniture is back in business with a high-profile relaunch.
It was an immediate change of mindset.David Morrison
However, only a few weeks ago, it was all set to be very different. Mr Morrison, who’d had the shop since 2008, was planning to sell up and go into semi-retirement.
A closing down sale was held and a deal to sell the building was in the pipeline.
But, just four days before the July conclusion date, he received a phone call from lawyers saying ‘It’s not going to happen’.
Although it was far from what he had planned, Mr Morrison (67) decided he had to revive the store, and set about contacting suppliers to replenish the stock as soon as possible.
He and his wife Jane are back in the shop, while his grandson, Ben Mercer, is learning the trade with a view to taking over.
Mr Morrison said he’d received a written offer in April to buy the premises for £150,000.
He had hoped to sell the business as a going concern but settled for the sale of the building.
Lawyers talked to each other while surveys and energy reports were done, he said.
However, the prospective buyer then slashed the offer to just £50,000, quoting alterations that supposedly had to be made in line with European laws.
Eventually, they offered £65,00o but it was ‘no deal’.
The shop was virtually empty after the clearance sale – “I had two sofas and two bits of carpet left,” said Mr Morrison.
Mail was being redirected, the phone was disconnected – and he had also paid off three members of staff.
But, despite the shock of the deal collapsing, he made up his mind straight away about what had to be done.
He said: “It was an immediate change from one mindset of quitting to another of ‘let’s kick this into gear again’.”
Mr Morrison has spent around £50,000 on the relaunch, with still more stock coming in.
Despite being a “very positive person”, he said he’d felt “a loss of face” and embarrassment at having told customers who knew him personally that he was leaving, only to still be there.
But now he felt good, as cstomers had been “very sympathetic and understanding”.
Mr Morrison expected to be there for another couple of years but added he was “quite happy” to do so.