New fairtrade shop for Gavin’s Mill

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Gavin’s Mill will soon be transformed into a fair trade shop - giving the iconic Milngavie landmark a new lease of life.

Work has already started to convert the inside of the B listed building, with plans for the new shop’s opening to coincide with Fairtrade Fortnight - which this year is from February 27 to March 12.

The idea to use the vacant building came about after the owner of Scotland’s olders fair trade shop John Riches, who has run The Balmore Coach House for 37 years, decided last year that it was time to take a less active role in the fair trade movement.

After Gavin’s Mill has been converted all the remaining stock from the Coach House will be moved over and the new venture will be run by a consortium of Milngavie local fair trade group.

Mr Riches said: “At the age of 77 it is time to take a less active role in the fair trade movement, although I’ll still be about to help out in a consultative role and will be helping to make the change over as smooth as possible.

“We have just agreed the lease on Gavin’s Mill and are very busy. The next four or five weeks will be very busy. We are hoping to get Sally Magnusson to officially open the shop. This would be lovely as there is a strong family connection. Her mother opened The Coach House 37 years ago.”

The mill is initially being leased for five years, but the long term plan is to buy the building if enough money can be raised.

Mr Riches added: “We will be working closely with the Milngavie Heritage Centre and the Gavin’s Mill Community Project to raise funds to hopefully buy the building sometime in the future.”

Initially the centre will be for Fairtrade products and crafts, but there are plans for a cafe/restaurant; healthy food centre selling locally produced vegetables and a heritage centre with local relevant exhibitions.

Welcoming the news Iain McAllister, chair of Milngavie Community Council said: “We really do welcome this news. The building has been unused for some time and it really needed some refurbishments it is good that it will now be a community asset. Long term we are not sure what will happen but this is good news.”

There is still a great deal of work to be done before the building can open and anyone who would like to volunteer can come along to the Gavin’s Mill for a pre-opening meeting on Tuesday, February 7 at 7pm,

Mr Riches added: “We hope as many prospective volunteers as possible will turn up to help us make this a real success.”