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Victorian Market jeweller hopeful recovery will come – with time

By Alasdair Fraser

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Jeweller Willie Morrison. Picture: Gary Anthony.
Jeweller Willie Morrison. Picture: Gary Anthony.

Time is a commodity William Morrison, as the son of a renowned watchmaker, naturally knows much about.

With a wealth of experience and expertise in his trade, the Inverness Victorian Market jeweller also understands what makes his home city tick.

Mr Morrison has rarely seen a more challenging moment for the local economy than that presented by the pandemic, but believes time – and good customer service – can be a great healer.

His father, William senior, started the family business in 1960 in the old Market Hall having previously trained with the silversmiths Fraser Ferguson & MacBean.

“In 1998, we took over the business previously known as Finkelstein’s, run by a Jewish immigrant called Isaac Finkelstein since 1902,” he said. “Ours is certainly a very historic spot.

“After that, it was taken over by a family called Riach and then we came into the premises.”

The eye-catching shop front may have survived two world wars, but the doors were closed from March 20 until July 15 because of Covid-19.

“We were very glad to get the business going again,” Mr Morrison stressed. “We had literally dozens of watch batteries to replace – and they’re still coming.

“We had a lot of repairs, some tourists coming by – although we’d have liked more – and certain things have been selling very well, mostly the more expensive items.

William Morrison Watchmaker & Jeweller. Picture: James MacKenzie.
William Morrison Watchmaker & Jeweller. Picture: James MacKenzie.

“The lack of weddings has knocked us a little bit, but we’re now in the process of getting our silver stock in for Christmas and have a huge range of really nice reproduction antique silver jewellery.”

Covid safety measures were swiftly and easily implemented, and with time and patience public confidence gradually returned.

“We have screens up and wear masks, with frequent use of hand gel. We can accommodate three customers at a time safely,” Mr Morrison said.

“Certainly more people have started coming out this week. A good few even this week have been telling us they have been inside their houses since March and this is their first trip to town.

“It is a very difficult time for everyone, but I sense confidence is returning. If you have the right type of stock at the right price, you will always make a living. Hopefully, things will come back.”

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