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Backstreet style … the CoLab Store couple inviting people to get off the beaten track

By Ian Marland at

A business couple say people should hunt out shops in the city’s backstreets as lockdown begins to ease.

Karen Haas and Peter Mulvenny say social distancing is a perfect opportunity to explore the West End’s quieter quarters.

Their Partick home and lifestyle shop with in-house coffee space, CoLab Store, is one hidden gem off the beaten track.

Peter and Karen at CoLab Store

Backstreets: CoLab Store on Dowanhill Street is just off the beaten track.

It sits on Dowanhill Street, just a few steps from both Byres Road and Dumbarton Road.

Peter said: “The backstreets are where it’s happening.

“There are plenty of places that people can escape to away from the busy streets.

“There are loads of little shops like ours you can find if you just explore.”

‘Explore’

Karen adds: “It’s amazing the number of people who come in here and say ‘how long have you been open?’

“We say two years, and they say, ‘oh my god, I live in Lawrence Street and I never knew!’

“I say you live in the West End, you need to go out and explore.

“It’s amazing how many people stay on their same route day in, day out.”

Peter and Karen at CoLab Store

‘It’s amazing the number of people who come in here and say ‘how long have you been open?’

Lockdown has been a stress and a worry for pretty much every business.

And it was no different for Peter and Karen, who are partners in life as well as business.

But the shut down has given the couple – who opened in December 2017 – space to future proof.

Time and money has been invested in a super new website – www.colabstore.co.uk

Showcase

It means the store is better able to showcase its range of brands and design-led products.

Karen said: “You have to follow the trend for online shopping in this day and age.

“We have had people come in to the shop who are Saturday tourists.

“They might come in and buy something but then want to continue supporting us.

Peter and Karen at CoLab Store

Peter and Karen have used lockdown to develop the store’s new website.

“The website is a way for them to be able to do that.”

Peter explains more about how the website fits in with the business model.

“It is not only for people who come to the shop, it’s for people who won’t come over the door.

“It’s about spreading the name of the shop and getting it to people outwith Glasgow – as well as people in Glasgow.

 

‘The backstreets are where it’s happening.

‘There are plenty of places that people can escape to away from the busy streets.

‘There are loads of little shops like ours you can find if you just explore’

Peter Mulvenny

 

“We want people from London, and people from abroad to order from us.

“You can also click and collect – order it on the website and then come along and pick it up from the shop.”

The store is inspired by the art of Berlin and New York with its bare brick walls and neon signs.

The tables were a school gym floor in Clydebank, and the counters are from the pews of Shettleston Parish Church.

Sanitiser bottle

CoLab Store is following strict safety measures in line with Scottish government guidelines.

The brickwork is 1870s bricks from Partick Works in Crow Road.

“People do ask, and it is nice to tell them that we have bits of Glasgow all around us.”

Peter adds: “But the brands that we have are really important.

‘Positive’

“We try to get brands that no one else has.

“It’s important for us to be different from other shops if we can.

“It’s been a tough few months but we are keeping positive about the future.”