1. Tell us about yourself
Mum and dad retired around 10 years ago, leaving Paul and I to run the business which we have done with a great team of staff over the years. I run the business side of things, with Paul running the (very busy) workshop, we have two full time staff, Fern and Kaitlyn, Paul’s son lewis is our ‘Saturday boy’ and just this week, Paul’s wife Erica has joined us too, it really is a family business!
2. Tell us about the history of your shop
Our business was founded by my dad, Colin, in 1971 in Glasgow where he ran his own (trade) workshop. When our family moved to Drumnadrochit in the early 1980’s, he continued to work for the trade, retaining many of his original customers – from Glasgow to Northern Ireland – with a postal service, and undertaking the repairs on behalf of almost every jewellery shop in Inverness. He collected and delivered the work every Friday, so whether you had handed in your jewellery to Murray Forbes, Gavins, Medlock and Craig, H Samuels or Ernest Jones, it all was repaired by him!
Eventually he moved the business to Inverness, initially offering a trade only service but subsequently dealing directly with the public from his small workshop on Market Brae Steps. When the opportunity arose in 2000 to take over a vacant unit in the Victorian Market, he jumped at the chance and we have been here ever since!
To start with the shop was run by Colin, my mum Meryl, manager Mike and my brother Paul. Paul didn’t initially train as a jeweller as my dad wasn’t keen for him to simply join the family business without experiencing working life elsewhere, and in any case, Paul had no interest in it! Paul was initially a car paint sprayer, time served with a City and Guilds with Ruthvens Motors, and, as with everything done by Paul, he was very good at it. So much so that the local classic car club members lined up to have their cars sprayed by him! Eventually however, Paul decided that he would like to try his hand in the jewellery trade and my dad had him join him in the Market Brae workshop every day for a year after his shift at Ruthvens to learn the basics. When he was happy that Paul was committed, he let him join him full time.
3. What is the best thing about being part of the VM?
The Victorian Market has always been a great place for us to be, from the fantastic mix of characters when we first started here, to now being part of the revamped market which draws in new customers daily, both locals who haven’t been tempted to visit for years and tourists keen to experience a different retail environment to that that they have seen everywhere else. The food court has been a great addition and will continue to grow and attract new customers as the vacant units are filled. Many of the retail shops have been here, like us, for years and although it seems hard to believe that 3 jewellers could all thrive under such a relatively small roof, we all have our own customer base and each offer something different to the others. Many of the other retailers have their own dedicated followers, from the brilliant Milk Bar, the fishmongers and the butchers to the beautiful Scottish giftware in Triquetra, not forgetting our Belgian chocolatier, it’s quite an eclectic mix!
4. Why should people come to your shop?
We have our own loyal customer base and have found, with award winning customer service combined with beautiful stock, our reputation has spread by word of mouth and we are always busy. Our onsite workshop, where Paul carries out the majority of repair work, sees up to 100 repairs every week. We offer excellent craftmanship at fair prices, whether for repairs, remodelling or bespoke commission work and are very proud that we are in the business of creating ‘future heirlooms’! Equally, we choose our stock carefully from a curated range of jewellery designers and enjoy stocking jewellery that you can;t buy at every other jewellers up and down the country.
5. What’s the best thing about running your own business?
Running our own business is definitely a great position to be in and we are very grateful to our parents for handing over the business which they worked so hard to establish and grow. It’s a privilege to carry on the family name, and serve customers who tell us ‘your dad made this for me’! We very much hope to continue offering great service and fantastic jewellery, and with our recent ‘Independent Retailer of the Year’ award at the Inverness BID awards, we think we’re definitely doing something right! Dad was absolutely delighted about that!
For more information about the opening times for Colin Campbell & Co. visit their business page here