Cormack's and Crawford's celebrates its centenary as a Dingwall High Street institution
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A Dingwall High Street institution is set to mark 100 years of being business in Ross-shire’s market town as staff and long-time owners are readying for a week of celebration for Cormack’s and Crawford’s centenary.
To have remained in business for such a long period of time – opening just five years after the end of the First World War in 1923 when the Soviet Union was just a year old – certainly shows how times have changed but Cormack’s doors remained open.
The business will mark the centenary with a two day sale starting a week today as well as raffle with prizes donated from suppliers.
The late Greg Cormack’s grandfather started the business having been an apprentice cobbler at Melville’s Shoe Shop in Inverness but moved to have his own premises – which was part of what is now the National Hotel.
Then in 1965, a significant transition took place when the shop moved across the street to a prime corner location at the junction of Castle Street and the High Street in Castle Bank House.
Through the years Cormack’s & Crawford’s continued to evolve but one of the biggest changes was the merger with Crawford’s the Draper, which was orchestrated by Greg’s father, Rob Cormack.
Combining the two resulted in the establishment that is known today as Cormack’s & Crawford’s that has a wide variety not just of footwear but other goods and clothing.
In 1986, there was another major move to the current High Street location, which had previously housed William Lows’ supermarket, and made the business extremely hard to miss for anyone on the High Street.
That decision was attributed to Kit, Greg’s dedicated wife, and her vision and unwavering commitment played a pivotal role in navigating this transition and seizing the opportunities it presented.
The family sought to expand even further when Greg and Kit’s late son Steven – who was also an crime author – ventured to open a second Cormack’s & Crawford’s in Ullapool, before he returned to the Dingwall shop to contribute to its ongoing success.
Speaking about the centenary, Kit Cormack said: "Well, it is quite a milestone for any business to have the doors open through thick and thin for 100 years so we think it is probably a good idea to mark the occasion because, in a way, it is a small piece of local history.
"Everyone remembers the shops that were around when they were young and go by the by but here we are after a century. It is amazing to think that Cormack’s and Crawford’s first opened its doors just five years after the end of World War One.
"We will mark the occasion with a special window which my daughter Julie will deck out and that will be on show from Monday. Then on Friday and Saturday we will have a special sale, with a raffle and prizes from some of our suppliers. We wanted to do that by way of a thank you for the people that really keep the business strong - our customers.
"The one person I would like to thank more than anyone else is Yvonne Cameron. She has been with us for more than three decades and I am sure any business owner lucky enough to have had someone that loyal and supportive would say the same thing. I am not sure we would have made it to this point without her."
Do you remember your first shoes out of Cormack’s?