Popular Stirling coffee shop closes doors after 24 years in city centre

A Stirling institution is to close its doors for the final time today after serving hungry locals for 24 years.

Victoria Struthers and her mum Marion will finally hang up their ladles as the pair look to finally slow down following close to 24 years at the helm of popular Victoria’s Coffee Shop in the city’s King Street.

The move was announced on the shop’s Facebook page - with more than 300 comments and good wishes posted as a tribute to the pair’s contribution to the city’s business scene.

Speaking to the Observer, Victoria, 50, said she was looking forward to moving to another stage in her life and spending more time with family.

She said: “I must admit all of the comments on the post were just overwhelming and it’s lovely to read how well the shop is thought of having been here since a long time.

“I’ve got three kids all at different stages and I also work with my husband, so it will be nice to relax and have one less thing on my plate and mum is 76 so she has well gone past the stage of doing her time.

“We’ve had lots of people coming in since the post went live to tell us they are going to miss us and asking where they can go for their breakfasts and lentil soup.

“It will be 24 years on the 5th since we opened; it was just the two of us; mum had a catering business in Stirling for a few years and so we decided to try something together, it was a leap of faith leaving my job but we know we were good at what we did.

“It was a real learning curve in those early few years, but I had a business degree so that helped us out a little with that side of things.”

In her Facebook post, Victoria was also critical over the level of support over the level of management available for businesses in the city centre - and said she believed Stirling had never fully recovered from the impact of the Covid pandemic.

“It’s just getting really difficult being in the town centre”, Victoria added. “The appearance just isn’t that great and it’s a bit rundown at points and it’s just really hard when you’re running a business with no real backing.

“The loss of the town centre manager and lack of a replacement means there has been a lack of engagement with businesses and there’s no real opportunity to put issues across any more, other than one time when they came to discuss traffic planning.

“It feels more as if someone in an office is deciding what is good for businesses in the city centre rather than asking what they can do for us.”

In response, Go Forth Stirling BID project director Danielle McRorie-Smith said:“We’re sorry that Victoria’s has taken the decision to close after so many years as a popular member of the business community and we understand and sympathise with the issues which have been highlighted by the owners.

“We are continually improving our efforts to make the city centre an attractive destination. We also aim to increase footfall for businesses through various initiatives such as the recent BRICKLIVE Ocean Trail and the festive Gingerbread Trail.

“We also regularly gauge the views of our business community on problems they are facing and changes they would like to see through visits from our two street ambassadors and by having an ‘open door’ policy where they are welcome to contact the team via phone or email or requesting a meeting.

“We have also just opened a new office on Baker Street which will include times when business owners can drop in and chat to the team.”

A Stirling Council spokesperson added: “We continue to engage and support businesses in Stirling city centre via our partner organisation in Go Forth Stirling BID.

“While the economic situation faced by all city and town centre high streets continues to evolve, as did it even prior to the pandemic, Stirling boasts a large number of independent businesses and a particularly vibrant coffee shop culture.’’