We check out the new Nisa Local in Elderslie’s Main Road, the shop at the heart of a multipurpose pub conversion project in Braveheart country.
ELDERSLIE, a long-established Renfrewshire town situated smack bang between Paisley and Johnstone, has one major claim to fame. It is – the locals, a series of official signs around the town, and a pretty large monument will tell you – the birthplace of Scotland’s great leader William Wallace, Braveheart himself.
And at one time there was a pub in the town’s Main Road that also commemorated the Flower of Scotland, the Wallace Tavern. But like many pubs in modern Scotland it fell on tough times and was put up for sale.
It was an opportunity seized by experienced retailers the Dhaliwal family who had run a Nisa symbol store in Hamilton for several years before selling it to CJ Lang.
They figured the pub site, in a central location in a residential area, with substantial scope for ancillary development and car parking, was too good to miss and put in a bid back in 2012.
In an extensive project the single storey area that housed the pub’s lounge, that had been known as the Ring O’ Bells, was transformed. The new Nisa Local was built on that space and extended to the rear over what had been the pub’s beer garden.
Next to the 2,300 sq ft shop the two-storey section has been re-fashioned to provide another retail unit on the ground floor, which will be leased out, as well as two first floor flats. And there’s a 24-vehicle car park.
Amo Dhaliwal, a qualified accountant who sees retailing as something of a vocation, runs the new store with the help of 12 staff, all local people recruited through the job centre.
The store, shopfitted by specialist company Cruden Contracts, follows Nisa style and specifications and features the trademark Nisa clean lines, a style that Amo likes a great deal.
It’s intended to have a spacious feel, he explained. Aisles are wide enough to take a powered wheelchair, there are clear sight lines and the till area has been left clean and uncluttered.
In aisle one, on the left-most wall, three efficient 3.75m, remotely run Arneg chiller units have been connected to provide what is effectively nine double-door cabinets holding chilled soft drinks, chilled fresh produce, dairy, chilled meats and deli, and ready meals. At the end of the row upright frozen food cabinets face an area housing a chest freezer for large, bagged items.
Facing the chillers, the aisle one shelves include ambient fresh produce, ambient world foods and ambient grocery.
LED lighting units researched and sourced by Amo himself provide excellent light and energy efficiency, he said.
Through the centre of the store the aisles are broken at the point where the old area was extended and necessary pillars were installed. Darren Cruden of Cruden Contracts suggested installing mirrored pillars and Amo thinks they work very well.
The aisle breaks encourage customers to explore the store and it means there are 12 gondola-end fixtures to accommodate special promotions, impulse goods and items like household hardware.
And a major highlight, that’s already going down well with customers, is the beer cave, a chilled room with an angled automatic door that houses most of the drinks stock.
Amo’s pleased with the look, feel and finish of the shop. Weather-related construction delays meant he opened a little later than he would have liked and without the car park in use. But business has been picking up steadily, he said, and he’s looking forward to the Nisa Local store playing its own part in historic Elderslie’s future.