Opening Night of new Begg Shoes

Wow! What a whirlwind the past few weeks has been with the opening of our new shoe shop in Inverness. On Thursday the 27th of April 2017 at 6:00pm the Begg Family held the Grand Opening of their new store in Inverness. As part of the celebration they cut the Ribbon which officially opened the store.

The great evening would not have been made possible with our customer and suppliers and so we have a few “thank you’s”…

Thank you to everyone who came and all our supportive customers, we look forward to bringing you beautiful high quality footwear for many years to come.

Thank you to all our suppliers, especially those who supported us with fantastic goodie bags & prizes for the Public Grand Opening which was in store on Friday. They are: ECCO, Rieker, Remonte, Ara, Gabor, Skechers, Clarks, Tamaris, Padders, Lotus, CAT, Fiorelli, Kipling, Ruby Shoo, Shetland Tweed, Wonders, Reisenthel, Marco Tozzi, Legero and Laura Vita.

The evening was off to a great start with the Begg family mingling while everyone enjoyed a glass of Prosecco. Around 6:30 everyone gathered outside for the official cutting of the ribbon to which Mr Begg Snr who was the last of the Begg’s to make shoes took the honour of opening the new store.

Once the ribbon cutting ceremony was done, everyone gathered back inside for a few words from Garek Begg and the lucky draw. Well done to our 4 winners who won them selves a pair of ECCO Shoes, a pair of Rieker Shoes, a pair of Remonte Shoes and lastly was the great prize of Clarks Summer Shoes for a family.

For those who missed what Garek had to say, you can have a read here…

“I could only guess what my Great, Great Grandfather would have said on an evening like this, but for all of us opening a new shop is always a special occasion and none more so than our first ‘prime site’ here on Inverness High Street. We have been told on numerous occasions ‘That’s a brave move’ – especially in light of the challenges facing retail all over the country, but footfall is everything for us and its really exciting to locate in such a bustling area of the city!

We have our challenges though and the shoe trade is not for the faint hearted. Over 150 high profile shoe shops have closed just in the last month including names we all know – Brantano, Jones and others. It’s fair to say that ‘bricks and mortar’ trade has to fight for survival but I believe our knowledge sets us apart. We know shoes, we know retail and it is our canny approach and winning team that will  keep us going.

Most of you will know we have a WEBSITE but it’s NOW our 2nd biggest store! We had a website before but we didn’t work at it and a website needs a lot of work to help it succeed. Donald, leading the 6th generation of the family into the business, has been the driving force in changing this. We are nearing the front of the pack online for our range of high quality brands and you’ll find us ‘Page 1’ for many Google searches – where we sell in Euro, Dollars and all across the world. Constantly challenging ourselves to improve and achieve has been a roller coaster! Getting shops & website working truly together requires continuous vigilance and I believe we are now a fully integrated retail businesses.

We have a dedicated team in the office including Emma, James and Stuart. Alongside them in the office are Craig (web & photo) and Cheries (marketing & web) who have organised this fantastic opening evening. All of our team work tirelessly to maintain our high standards of service and solve the inevitable issues. At this point Delighted to introduce second son Gaven – who joined us last week following a career in Accounting & Corporate Finance – there’s more than enough work to keep him buried.

Back to our new store: Our belief is that people will always need a shoe shop. In-store you can try on alternatives, see, feel and touch the products and experience genuinely friendly and knowledgeable customer service. The Eastgate store product offering will be more fashion forward and differ from our Union Street store. This will continue to evolve, while both shops are well on track the future looks promising! Our new store has been set up from scratch for the challenging future of retail. We hope you agree it is simple, elegant and we have designed it to be as energy efficient and adaptable as possible.

Nikki has taken charge here moving from the original shop, which will now be the test bed of any of our new ideas. We are introducing some great new quality brands like Alpina, IMAC, Ambition, Laura Vita, Regarde Le Ciel, Fly London etc. Such a prominent site gives us the opportunity to show you something new and hopefully exciting in years ahead. We’re frequently asked about restarting kids shoes and will consider this but need everything running optimally here before we can make that call – we will continue to sell kids shoes in 5 of our other stores and online for now.

If your size is missing here in the store (which happens) most of our stock is online – so you can filter and find, browse & buy from home, mobile or instore with our team which adds a new dimension for us. You can choose to click & collect or take advantage of free home delivery but ultimately if you have any problems it will be our dedicated customer service hotline that comes to your aid – not a call centre – rather the highly experienced team down at our Union Street store that will pick up the phone! We now operate our own photo studio, in which Ellen has been producing top class images for our website.

Another important innovation for us has been the brilliant Loyalty Scheme – it is simple – no cards – members don’t need receipts and we offer a generous voucher scheme to reward our loyal customers.

I’ve put together what I hope is and interesting slide show which has some images from the business both historic (since 1866) right up to the minute. You’ll see my grandad’s workbenches & machinery where he actually made shoes and where my Dad (Andrew Begg, the fourth generation) learned the trade & I spent my school holidays repairing shoes. Dad and Mum were the torch bearers for the period before I (Garek Begg, fifth generation) came into the business and I know they will love seeing and explaining any of the older pictures, if you are curious.

I don’t have a slide with the 6th generation (Donald and Gaven Begg) but they are here tonight anyway!

Going through the pictures, I’d forgotten just how much we’ve evolved and achieved in the last 4+ years – since we took over the DE shops – let alone since I came fully into the business in 1983.

Here in Eastgate, back in December we started with cold, leaking, unheated shop with dry rot amongst many other issues. Thanks so much to everyone particularly the team of quality tradesmen and suppliers without who’s brilliant efforts we’d still be struggling to get the shop opened.

Last but not least I’d like to thank you all for making the time to come here tonight and giving us all the opportunity to meet this evening. I hope you agree we’ve brought this place back to life!”

Begg Shoes History

Garek Begg, Begg Shoes Director