The Old Scotch Stores on the Sligo Road, Enniskillen, which houses numerous retailers, service industries and entertainment outlets is up for sale.

Due to retirement, current owner David Stuart who operates Stuart Auctions from the building, is selling the property which has been in his family since 1967.

“My father bought the Scotch Stores from the Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society in 1967 and it’s been in the Stuart family ever since,” said David, speaking to The Impartial Reporter.

Talking about the history of the building, David noted that when owned by Scottish Co-operative Wholesale Society, it was a factory processing milk, pigs, poultry and other farm produce.

“Cattle or sheep were not brought here,” he said, adding: “Milk and buttermilk were bottled, butter and cream were produced along with pork and poultry products. The factory was built at the end of the 19th century”.

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When David’s father purchased the building, it was gradually turned into retail units and other outlets. He had a furniture shop himself in it for some time.

“There have been an assortment of businesses in this building over the years which have served the Fermanagh community and the surrounding counties well due to its prominent location” said David.

David and his siblings inherited the building 45 years ago and for some time they had joint ownership but in 2000 David acquired it from the family.

“For 55 years it’s been a significant part of my life and I have watched it develop into a major landmark building in Enniskillen.

“I have a very good relationship with the tenants, some of whom have become more like friends than clients,” he added.

“There are quite a few outlets including a large snooker hall, a bingo hall, fishing tackle shop, fireplace shop, nursery shop, engineering business, window glazing, an arts company, a theatre company and the Lakeland Church,” said David, noting that some of the business owners have been tenants for over 30 years.

When asked if the tenants of the building will be impacted by the sale, David said: “It is anticipated that nothing will change due to the substantial rental income. Depending on the new owner I may carry on the auction business for a short time.”

Now on the market, the 70,000 sq ft premises is being sold through McGovern Estate Agents in Enniskillen.

Regarded as one of Enniskillen’s most prominent, landmark buildings, the Old Scotch Stores were designed by 19th century architect Thomas Elliott. The building retains its original features with a stone facade and landmark chimney.

Talking about the potential of the building in the hands of new owners, David said: “There’s room for further substantial development, such as a restaurant, coffee shop, arts and craft centre and apartments with superb views of Enniskillen Castle and the River Erne.

“The building’s proximity to the town centre allows its future use to be fully exploited,” he told this newspaper.