GLASGOW shops, restaurants and businesses come and go – but some have been going strong for what seems like forever.
In a world of cut-backs and shut-downs, these shops and companies have bucked the trend and hopefully will be around for a long time yet.
Here is a round-up of some of Glasgow’s oldest and best known businesses which are still surviving on the high street today.
Glasgow’s famous sweetie shop, Glickman's Confectionery, was established in 1903, making it one of the city’s oldest surviving businesses.
Still using the old copper pots previous generations of the family used to make macaroons, soor plooms, toffee bon bons and more, the London Road store has also evolved with the times, providing a delivery service, children’s party boxes and bespoke accessories for weddings, birthdays, christenings and events of all kinds. In 2010, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver visited Glickman’s to watch the East End store’s famous Swiss cream tablet and macaroon cake being made. The staff also introduced the celebrity chef to his first frying pan lolly.
2 SLATER MENSWEAR
Nothing beats a Slater’s suit, as generations of Glaswegians will testify. A trip to this massive emporium on Howard Street has been a rite of passage for young men looking for their first smart suit for many a decade and it is still going strong. Samuel Slater founded the company as a tailors in 1904, after moving to Glasgow from Russia.
In 1973, the business was devastated by a huge fire and Samuel’s son, Ralph, started the company again from scratch. The company is now run by Ralph’s son Paul, and has stores across the country. Its Glasgow HQ is a city landmark, towering high above the pubs and shops of Stockwell Street and Howard Street.
3 TAM SHEPHERDS
Everyone’s favourite magic shop has been trading from the same premises on Queen Street since 1886. Tam Shepherds Trick Shop is the world’s oldest family-run trick and joke shop, named after its original owner.
The Walton family have run the place for more than 75 years – sadly, magician Roy Walton, who worked at the counter well into his 80s, died in 2020 – and customers visit from all over the world to be enchanted by everything from fart whistles and whoopee cushions to chattering teeth and fake dog poo.
The Laing family have put Glasgow on the map when it comes to exquisite jewellery, and they are one of the city’s oldest businesses, with more than 170 years under their collective belts. Now run by the sixth generation of the same family who started the company as Glasgow took its place as the ‘second city of the Empire’, its flagship store opened in 1971 in the Argyll Arcade.
5 GLASGOW STAMP SHOP
Formerly Buchanan Street Stamps, the Glasgow Stamp Shop opened more than 40 years ago. Stamp collectors from the city and beyond like to browse its substantial collections and owner Gordon Carroll also runs a vibrant online operation for customers all over the world.
6 VOLTAIRE AND ROUSSEAU
The Otago Lane bookshop in the West End has been welcoming local residents, students, authors, book collectors and famous writers (including AL Kennedy, Margaret Atwood, Tom Leonard and Bernard MacLaverty) through its doors for 51 years.
The second-hand emporium, which opened in 1972, sells books on a range of subjects, and many of its customers have been supporting the shop for decades.
7 DEE'S OF TRONGATE
Dee has been a Glasgow landmark since 1956, “togging out generations of Mods, Rockers, Rockabillies, Skinheads, Soul Boys, Scooterists and Rude Boys” and “single-handedly clothing the city’s style tribes” ever since, as its own website proclaims. Started in Cambuslang by David McGhee, it quickly expanded to Springburn, Partick, Clydebank and the Trongate flagship. It is undoubtedly a Glasgow institution, but its customers come from all over the world.