What The Dickins: A Tale Of Edinburgh City

Dickins Recommendation – Century General Store

Our recommendation this month is the Century General Store, located on Montrose Terrace in Abbeyhill. If you are a regular, you may have noticed some changes in the new year, and we are delighted to share their story of change with you.  From delicious cakes and coffee, to eco friendly homewares and local brands, the General Store is a wonderful place to visit. So without further ado, we leave it to Stevie and his partner to share their story that inspired the changes to their store…

The Essence of Edinburgh

Edinburgh is a city for daydreaming. I’m reminded of this every day I walk along Regent Road towards my shop, Century General Store. That sudden open, majestic panorama, with The Crags jutting out into the sky, and the silhouettes of adventurers at the top of Arthur’s Seat: it’s my favourite view in Edinburgh. After the hustle and bustle of Princes Street, it’s easy to forget you’re still in the middle of a capital city. I want my shop to be an extension of that feeling, somewhere to breathe easily.

Century General Store

Image by Charlie Breen @breenseven

We are used to on-demand living, and the temptation in life and in business is to keep on adding more and more. I opened Century General Store in 2014, inspired by a small place in Paris that sold considered, beautiful homewares and had two seats in the corner to enjoy an espresso. My first store in Marchmont reflected that dream. But my twenty years’ experience in hospitality meant I was more than capable of running a busy café seven days a week, so that’s what I did. We moved into Montrose House in Abbeyhill, the café thrived and gradually the store element took a backseat. But life has a way of making you stop and think.

Finding Our Roots

There were two main catalysts for my deciding to re-vamp Century for 2020, to stop serving food, and take the concept back to its roots. The first is personal: we are on an autism journey with my little boy. Together with my partner, who works alongside me behind the scenes to run Century General Store, we have spent the last few years adapting our family life, slowing down and learning to bring more nature into our days. It became impossible and unsustainable in every way to just keep on keeping on.

The other huge catalyst is the climate crisis. I feel very lucky to be in a position where I can choose which direction my workplace takes. Some of the environmentally responsible changes I’ve made are small, others much more at the forefront.

Keeping the environment in mind with our products

Keeping it Simple

The new-look Century General Store is all about keeping things simple. Great coffee and delicious cakes. The space is calm. There’s a communal table, and a cosy seating nook in the window. It’s all about the products on the shelves, which are ethical and sustainable, made with the environment in mind. Many are plant-based. All promote mindful living. From skincare & shampoo bars to inspiring magazines, houseplants to ceramics, jewellery to zero waste kitchen & bathroom products, we’ve built on our tradition of working with other independent businesses, and stock products from dozens of indie makers all working creatively at their craft to add something positive and thoughtful to the world. Century General Store is an antidote to mass-production. We’re nestled in the heart of diverse and dynamic Abbeyhill, and our shop celebrates the unique stories that each maker brings to their work.

Cosy seating nook by the window to enjoy a coffee ad cake

Opening Our Space to the Community

This year for us is also about opening up the space to workshops and collaborations. We already have some exciting in-store events booked into the calendar: Social Anxiety workshops; local ceramicist Emporium Julium; mindful sewing with Soda Loop; eco-friendly cleaning with Fresh Green Clean; bespoke product-making with AB Aromatherapy; wellbeing & creativity with Our Lovely Goods. We post all our events on Instagram @centurygeneralstore, where you can find the details of how to book.

These days, I wear my heart firmly on my sleeve. I’m really proud of the space we’ve created. The response from customers has shown that we’re all craving that connection and conversation, a chance to find common ground and press pause for a while. An excuse to daydream.

A quiet place to enjoy a delicious coffee

 

What a great reminder about how important it is to take a pause, connect and recognise the power in our own actions. Thank you to Stevie and his partner for sharing their story. Keep an eye out for their events and we hope you enjoy the new store as much as we do!

Our Brunton Place home is a 5 minute walk from Century General Store and available to book today.

 

To see more of our homes, click HERE.

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