Dumfries & Galloway

Preparations are well in hand for another series of one-to-one advisory sessions with independent retailers in Dumfries & Galloway when the Shop Doctor visits Moffat in the week commencing October 20th.

These sessions will take place on the days following a Retail Masterclass which is being presented to retailers on the Monday evening.

Our Shop Doctor comments “With the challenges facing our High Streets still impacting on trading vitality, it is essential to ensure that individual shops and their towns as a whole recognise the importance of setting themselves aside from others by becoming destinations that enhance the customer experience”.

The Masterclass and subsequent visits will help those involved in the support programme to recognise and implement routes to maximising such opportunities.






Fourteen businesses in Kirkcudbright enrolled in the Let’s Talk Shop Support Programme delivered week commencing 15th September.

The businesses involved were:
Kathryn King Designer Jewellery 
Belfry Cafe
Kirkcudbright Working Print Studio
Tongland Family Golf Centre
Thomson & Dunbar Electricians
Wm Law
A&E Kennedy
All Natural Me
Masterpiece Sandwich Bar
Lindsay Line
Tolbooth Crafts 
The Wee Wardrobe

IMG_1846Each business will receive a comprehensive report from The Shop Doctor summarising containing recommendations providing opportunities to revitalise trading opportunities. In addition, a grant of £500 is available from Dumfries & Galloway Council to assist toward the implementation of any of the recommendations made.

Independent retailers in Moffat wishing to participate in the programme to be delivered week commencing 20th October should contact Grant.Coltart@dumgal.gov.uk

IMG_1316Week commencing September 15th will see The Shop Doctor active in Kirkcudbright as part of the current Shop Doctor Consultancy Programme commissioned by Dumfries & Galloway Council.

The schedule for the week will include the delivery of a Retail Masterclass on the evening of Monday 15th September followed by up to 12 one-to-one advisory visits to independent retailers in the town during the following days.

This will bring the numbers of towns in Dumfries & Galloway where independent retailers have been individually advised by Let’s Talk Shop up to 15 including Moffat, which is scheduled for involvement in October.

For more information click here 

Wigtown general photos 040The recent Let’s Talk Shop programme in Wigtown revealed far more retail depth within many of the businesses than was expected from first impressions.

From bookshops that are cafes – to cafes that sell books; gift shops with galleries to an engravers selling gifts – and all within a town setting enhanced by the very attractive and imposing County Building overlooking a well tended central pocket park set between the two main streets.

As Scotland’s National Book Town there may not be quite as many book shops as there once were but there is little doubt that the town offers a wealth of intriguing independent an knowledgeable businesses where books undoubtedly dominate the retail offer.

Shop Doctor Recommendations Reports have been provided for each of the eight participating businesses and it is hoped that implementation of just some of the recommendations will help to make visiting the businesses, and the town, an even more engaging experience.


nationalbooktown1611Wigtown will be the next town to participate in the Let’s Talk Shop Support Programme facilitated by Dumfries & Galloway Council.

A Retail Masterclass on the evening of Monday 21st July will be followed by one-to-one advisory visits from The Shop Doctor on subsequent days.

Up to 12 retailers in the town will be eligible for visits and each will be able to apply for a grant of up to £500 towards the implementation of recommendations made during the visits and within the comprehensive reports provided to each of the participating businesses.

Since the support programme commenced, over 150 independent retailers across Dumfries, Annan, Stranraer, Lockerbie, Gretna, Dalbeattie, Langholm, Thornhill, Sanquhar, Kirkconnel, Newton Stewart and Castle Douglas have been involved.

A further 68 retailers will be engaged in the scheme during the remainder of the current programme.

To register for the ‘Let’s Talk Shop’ Masterclass, contact the Council on 030 33 33 3000 and ask for Stephanie Carrick in Economic Development or e-mail stephanie.carrick@dumgal.gov.uk

For further information on the Let’s Talk Shop Programme overall, contact Grant Coltart, Economic Development Officer, Planning & Environment Services Department on 01387 260327 or e-mail grant.coltart@dumgal.gov.uk

IMG_9394Following a masterclass presentation on Monday 23 June, twelve independent retailers in the town benefited from a one-to-one advisory visit from The Shop Doctor. As in other towns already visited across Dumfries & Galloway, each received bespoke advice at the time of the visit and will receive a unique recommendations report highlighting individual opportunities to improve business vitality.

The exercise is not to criticise, but to identify ways to make good businesses even better. The Shop Doctor said “Castle Douglas is a very active town, but like so many others, is desperate to maintain and attract customers against the challenges that other retail channels now offer.  Fortunately, the town already has a very strong and diverse retail offering and it is hoped that the strength of the existing retailers will help ensure that the vibrancy of the town continues to attract new businesses and new customers.

Each of the shops receiving a report are able to apply for a £500 grant from Dumfries & Galloway Council towards implementing (some of) the recommendations.

In July, The Shop Doctor moves his attention to Wigtown where a similar support programme will be delivered.

IMG_8869Eight stallholders at Dumfries Farmers’ Market benefited from a visit from The Shop Doctor in May to help identify opportunities to improve their visual merchandising.  The stalls visited were A Bee Provided (honey products), Annanwater (lamb, hogget and mutton), Barlochan Highland Beef, Buy Heck! (preserves), Dessert Me, Galloway Chillies, Garrocher Market Garden and The Little Bakery.

Each stall was identified as having specific challenges.  A list of bespoke recommendations was formulated and included within a comprehensive report supplied to each of them.

The recommendations included items relating to the positioning of the stalls, presentation of each stall and the products within it, marketing material, signage, and customer service.

It is hoped that the reports will help generate improved awareness of the opportunity to better engage customer interest within a farmers’ market environment.


Let’s Talk Shop Retailer Support Programmes are to be delivered in up to 8 more Scottish towns over the next 12 months.

Recent contracts awarded by Dumfries & Galloway Council and East Lothian Council will see our Shop Doctor advising up to a further 98 independent retailers and building upon support programmes commenced in Scotland in 2013.

To date, Shop Doctor support has been delivered across 16 Scottish towns to 195 retailers. In addition to the valuable support provided directly to retailers, visiting the towns provides Let’s Talk Shop Ltd with a unique insight and understanding of issues that impact on the towns themselves.

Our Shop Doctor Bill Smith says “Being able to spend time in such a diverse range of towns, meeting with the independent businesses that help create their unique identity and with the customers that use them has helped develop a deep understanding of what helps create and sustain a vibrant town” he went on to comment “The onward challenge is to find a way of building on those opportunities to help enhance and build the economic vibrancy of the towns and the independent shops within them.”

D&G Markets header_150x150_p1

Eight stallholders engaged in Dumfries Farmers’ Market will shortly be participating in a Let’s Talk Shop support programme aimed at identifying specific opportunities to further develop their individual business opportunities.

Let’s Talk Shop has been commissioned by the Dumfries & Galloway Food & Drink Initiative.  It is intended that the recommendations made will be used to inform other stallholders involved with the initiative how they too can improve their individual business opportunities.

The next Farmers’ Markets in Dumfries are on Sunday April 6th and Sunday 4th May. Further details about Dumfries & Galloway Farmers’ & Community Markets can be accessed via their website.

NS monumentThe latest phase of the Let’s Talk Shop Support Programme for independent retailers in Dumfries & Galloway will provide opportunity for up to 12 businesses in Newton Stewart to benefit from a visit from The Shop Doctor.

The programme will commence with a Retail Masterclass presentation on the evening of Monday April 14th followed by three days of one-to-one visits with retailers in the town.

Independent retailers seeking to participate in the scheme are asked to contact grant.coltart@dumgal.gov.uk