McEwens of Perth has been trading successfully on the same site since March 1868 and can therefore boast having spanned three centuries. It is still an independent family run business, but it is doubtful whether the original Mr. McEwen could have imagined the changes which were to come. The shop, which was originally a single unit, began by satisfying the fashion requirements of Perthshire ladies. In the 1860's most fashion garments were made to order and once the fabric had been selected, garments were made up in the McEwen's own tailoring workshop.
The end of the First World War saw the appearance of the first ready-made garments from the fashion houses of Paris and McEwens of Perth earned a national reputation for importing the latest, up to the minute designs.
Despite a disastrous fire in the 1920's, McEwens began to expand by purchasing the adjoining properties and as the store grew, so did the range of goods sold.
By the late 1950's, the already extensive range of ladies fashion and accessories had grown to include menswear, lingerie, cosmetics, shoes, a hairdressing salon and a restaurant. The store began to look, at least from the outside, much as it does today.
In 1982 the store was acquired by the Bullough family and a decision was taken to expand the household goods offering and to capitalise on the largely feminine clientele. Available space was at a premium and it was not until 1997, when the property on the corner of St. John Street and South Street was acquired, that the real opportunity to develop a proper homewares section presented itself. And so began one if the most successful ventures that McEwens has undertaken.
In the summer of 1998 the new homewares section was opened. Being a member of the largest independent non-food buying group in the UK enabled McEwens to offer an unparalleled range of quality linens, cookware and soft furnishings at very competitive prices.
Sales soon exceeded even the most optimistic projections and a lack of space again became a limiting factor. When the local newspaper, the Perthshire Advertiser, their neighbours to the rear of the store in Watergate, took the decision to move their printing process out of town, McEwens agreed to acquire their two large warehouses. In the spring of 2000 these were converted into McEwens at home, the ultimate destination in Perth for all cookshop, linens and soft furnishing needs.
At the same time as our At Home Development in Perth, premises for a new store were acquired in Inverness. Following a complete refit, the store was opened in Church Street and has continued to grow over the years with further property acquisitions in 2006 and 2008.
This year our Ballater shop celebrated it's 50th year of serving Royal Deeside. To mark this occasion we decided to considerably expand our Ballater operations and relocate to the centre of town. This enormous undertaking represented the single largest investment into Ballater city centre in history. Who better to open this fabulous new store than T.R.H's The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Rothesay, who honoured us greatly by their gracious support. T.R.H's spent 45 minutes in our new store chatting to staff and viewing our products. They did not leave empty handed.