After 60 years, Scottish Imports closes its doors in Edmonton
‘You see a tartan, and usually she can tell you what it is just by looking at it’
After six decades in business, Scottish Imports is no more.
The Edmonton company, which specialized in Scottish tartans, clothing and gifts, closed its doors at 10121 150 Street, for the final time Wednesday evening.
Roach ran the store for the past 18 years and said she wanted to retire on a high note, adding she's done everything with the business the way she wanted to.
Previous owner Jim Stout started the store out of his garage in 1958.
"I know it sounds trite, my passion, but I just love tartan. I was a highland dancer, my parents were involved in piping and drumming when I was little, my kids have all been involved in it, my daughter continues to dance. It's just been part of my life forever."
In 1999, Roach bought Scottish Imports, expanding the fabric inventory and introducing rentals in 2002.
Before Roach moved the store near Stony Plain Road in 2014, it was in a number of other locations around the city.
Customers service is key
The customers were the best and most important part of the job, Roach said.
It's been busy, with at least 75 customers a day for the past week, she said.
"It's like they're waiting in queue outside the door — one goes out, and one comes in."
Linea Henderson has shopped at Scottish Imports since she was a kid.
"When my brother got married 15 years ago, he ordered all his kilts for his wedding from this store," Henderson said. "And I was a highland dancer, so we would often get our materials and things from here."
"It's part of their heritage, on both sides, so it's something that we want to keep up with."
Customer Rhonda Wolfe's said her Scottish great-grandparents settled in Alberta. The store reminds her of her lineage.
"I love everything that's in here. It's very educational … It's like a piece of gran, coming in here."
Roach's husband and "store floor mopper," Albert Roach, said his wife has done "a phenomenal job" running the store.
Valeta Roach said she will still be manufacturing and altering kilts in her new venture, Forever Tartan, where she'll be sewing and designing fabrics in a home-based business with an online presence.
"Probably one of the key things for many people is the shrinking and stretching of kilts, because they sometimes do that all by themselves in the closet and they need to get [them] fixed," she said with a laugh.
Tartans aside, her plans are to spend more time with her family "and then, of course, to be in my sewing room — my happy place."