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Inverness city centre shop to close after 13 years to make way for planned hotel


By Val Sweeney

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Munawar Ahmad is having to close his city centre shop after 13 years. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Munawar Ahmad is having to close his city centre shop after 13 years. Picture: Callum Mackay.

An Inverness business owner will close the door of his shop for the final time tomorrow.

For the past 13 years, Munawar Ahmad and his staff have served customers at Station News at Inverness bus station.

But he is now having to close ahead of plans by SPR Inverness to build a new hotel on land opposite the historic Rose Street Hall – which is subject to a demolition warrant due to expire by mid December – and next to the Spectrum Centre.

"I feel very sad," Mr Ahmad said.

"This is my only living."

Although he has tried to find alternative premises in the city centre, he said he had been unable to find anywhere suitable at a reasonable rent.

"I cannot afford it," said Mr Ahmad who is now exploring alternative employment including taxi driving.

He employed two other staff who have found other jobs.

Mr Ahmad and his wife, Asia, who have two sons and two daughters, moved to Inverness from London 13 years ago.

Previously, he and a business partner ran a shop at Victoria bus station but when the partnership split up, Mr Ahmad's uncle, who lives in Alness, flagged up the possibility of a business opportunity at Inverness bus station.

"We came and looked at the shop and took it straight away," he said.

"We have always loved Inverness."

Station News next to Inverness bus station is handy for city centre workers. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Station News next to Inverness bus station is handy for city centre workers. Picture: Callum Mackay.

As well as proving handy for bus passengers, many customers have been city centre office workers parking at Rose Street car park and calling into the shop – which opened between 6am and 8pm – on their way to and from work.

"Some will call in to pick up a coffee and other things on the way into work and on their way back home, they perhaps pick up a bottle of wine so we see them twice a day," he said.

Although he has encountered some problems with shoplifting and anti-social behaviour, he has fond memories of many customers.

"I would like to thank them so much," he said.

"They have been very kind and very nice.

"I love them all and respect them all. They have been brilliant.

"It is going to be a very sad day."

He said there will be discounted prices on the final day of trading and he expects to be open until the usual closing time of 8pm – unless he sells the stock before then.

He hopes to dispose of any leftover stock via other traders.


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