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Commercial Street, Lerwick: Da Street 2018

by Lauren Doughton -

Commercial Street in Lerwick, known locally as ‘Da Street’ (the street), is the heart of shopping and retail in Shetland. We spoke to local businesses and retailers to find out what it is like to run a small business in Shetland, and why the street is a great place to do it.

Situated in the centre of town, just a stone’s throw from the harbour front, the street is home to a range of shops and businesses, from banks, building societies and solicitors, to clothing, books, gifts and homeware stores - not to mention a whole host of yummy cafés and coffee shops. Whether you’re looking to pay in a cheque, get your hair cut, pick up your prescription, find that perfect present for a friend or relative, or buy a plunger to unblock the sink, you’ll find somewhere to do it on Commercial Street.

The street is part of the Lerwick Business Improvement District (BID), Living Lerwick – a business-led initiative, bringing local businesses together to work together and invest in improvements for their local area. As well as providing a forum for local businesses to collaborate, receive support and levy funding, the group are responsible for maintaining the appearance of the town centre, investing in seating, flower beds and other decorations. They also organise a range of events and festivals throughout the year, including shopping weeks, competitions and treasure hunts, and a Winter Festival, complete with Santa and Christmas Parade (where else could you go to see Santa arrive on an RNLI lifeboat?), all with the aim to ensure that Lerwick Town Centre remains a vibrant place to do business.

Today there is a distinct buzz around Commercial Street, with a number of new businesses opening up, including several cafés and bars, contributing to Lerwick’s blossiming social scene. If you are interested in starting your own business and joining the community on the street, there are several places available to help.

  • Business Gateway provide a range of support services for growing your business, including a network of business advisors, a range of workshops, from informal pre-start sessions to practical tips on the everyday running of your venture, and support and assistance with identifying suppliers and securing appropriate finance to get your underway.
  • Highlands and Islands Enterprise can provide ongoing support, and help you grow your business and identify new markets.
  • Economic Development at Shetland Islands Council can assist you in identifying appropriate sources of support to develop your business idea.
  • Looking to purchase an existing business, or find suitable premises? The Shetland Times and Shetland News both regularly carry adverts for properties and going concerns.
  • Living Lerwick can provide support to member businesses located within the BID region.
  • There are also several local trade organisations, including Shetland Food and Drink, Shetland Arts and Crafts, and the Shetland Tourism Association, who provide advice and assistance to members.

If you'd like to find out more about living and working in Shetland, check out the Live, Work, Study section of our website, or sign up to our newsletter to recieve regular stories, updates and information about opportunties in Shetland.

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