Kirkcaldy’s Enlightenments: Hub relaunches as outlet for returned goods from major retailer

Almost 300 years have passed since Adam Smith walked through the east end of the High Street down to Kirkcaldy’s harbour where the trading of goods inspired his economic philosophy.

Thursday, 17th March 2022, 9:10 am

The great man would surely have dropped into the Enlightenments Hub as it re-launches with a new vision, and continues those trading links – and possibly picking up a bargain or two!

It opens after a two-year pandemic lockdown with shelves filled with goods returned to a major retailer all for sale at heavily discounted prices.

That gives the Adam Smith Global Foundation the anchor it needed at its hub which will also continue to support local creatives, and be home to a cafe.

The Enlighments hub is re-opening in Kirkcaldy. Inset: Michael Levack.

Based in the former Made In Naples Italian restaurant, the hub had inly just got started when lockdown came.

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Envisaged as a training centre as well as a place where new businesses could get advice, as well a showcasing the work of local crafters, it has now gone back to the drawing board after seeing its launch plans scuppered by lockdown.

It originally envisaged opening during the 2020 Festival of Ideas with celebrity guest, Joanna Lumley doing the honours.

Some of the returned goods from a major retailer now being sold at the Enlightenments hub in Kirkcaldy, run by Adam Smith Global Foundation (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

Plans were in place to link with Fife College and Business Gateway - and then everything came to a stop.

Michael Levack, who chairs the organisation, said: “It has been a tough two years - the same for many others across the town centre

“We re-opened for small periods but it was never as we envisaged. We have never been able to trade for a decent length of time without restrictions or obstacles.”On the back of that experience, the foundation took a fresh look at its plans.

Some of the returned goods from a major retailer now being sold at the Enlightenments hub in Kirkcaldy, run by Adam Smith Global Foundation (Pic: Fife Photo Agency)

“Our priorities remain the same as they were when we started - to generate football in the Merchants’ Quarter, and supplement the businesses already here who are all working so hard and working together to make a real difference in this part of the High Street.

“It was also very important that we offer some training and employment so we will work with others to refresh that model.”

Step one has been to secure a deal with the retailer to stock, and sell, a huge range of returned goods - all brand new, and featuring everything from kitchen items to jewellery to sports kit.

What is on display will vary as the next batch arrives, and there will also be a spin-off with some items going directly to the Cottage Family Centre to help people in need.

The bust of Adam Smith.

“These sare high end offerings sold at competitive prices,” said Michael. “The products are all returns - absolutely nothing wrong with them.

“When people see the range of products they will be excited. They will get some great bargains.”

The foundation is keen to hear from local creatives who can benefit as more people visit to see the retail arm of the Enlightenments.

And the return to near normality means a chance to look again at how the hub can offer training opportunities - all in line with its original ethos.

“We want the Enlightenments to be a place people want to come,” added Michael.

“This is a fresh start after lockdown.”

The return to operations also extends to the Festival Of Ideas which is scheduled to run later this year with planning well underway for big celebrations in 2023 which marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Smith.

It has the potential to draw an international audience to the town where he once held court.

And part of that countdown is restoring the garden behind his house to its former glory.

It sits next to 1 Adam Smith Close, and the foundation would love to have it back in use for the 2023 celebrations.

Michael admitted; “The project has been hit by the pandemic in so many ways so we need to rapidly get it moving again.

“We want it finished by Spring 2023 - we want to invite people back into the garden and see it for themselves.

“We want to replicate what it looked like when Adam Smith wandered through it, but we also want it to be used.

“We have had to review our own thinking on this - the garden could be a place for community groups to use such as the men’s shed where people can learn new skills and be a hub for events and initiatives,

“We want people to get involved - we’re looking for gardeners and landscapers and architects, any graduates or retired people

This is a fantastic opportunity to create something very special.”

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