A Store With A Story

An enormous 1930s building, part of Glasgow’s history. Tracy Mukherjee uncovers the past.

The Store.  Owned and managed by brothers Arun and Ashoke Pasi, the brothers have been situated in this Anniesland institution for 28 years.  Arun invites me for a look around and I’m delighted to oblige. From the outside, nothing much to write home about, if you’ll pardon the pun. But the building has an interesting past, seeing various incarnations such as a warehouse for shop fitters, electricians – but initially it was all about sweets. I’m looking forward to my tour from owner Arun.

The Building

Back in the 1930s the building was Birrell’s Sweet Factory.  Arun says ‘Some of the (then)girls that used to work here have been in, saying “that’s where my section was.” It’s lovely.’  The importance of the building is seen in The National Library of Scotland’s Moving Image Archive. The original offices sit exactly where they were and on the ground floor of The Store sits the enormous sweets weighing scales.  It’s a fascinating visit.   

Equally as interesting as the building are what actually makes The Store tick – Arun, Ashoke and manager Alan. It’s not the first time the family run business has been at home in a famous Glasgow landmark.  Before the move to Anniesland, the brothers were at home in the old Bilsland Bakery on Whitehall Place, Anderston.  Ahead of the field, the brothers had been upscaling antique wood furniture and doors extremely successfully.  Arun could see that the public’s thirst for beautiful, unusual furniture extended beyond their niche upcycled items and new, select furniture was added to their ‘store.’  

The Business

The family moved their business to the Munro Place building back in 1996. And so was borne The Store – three floors of exquisitely curated furniture selected from all over the world. The three-storey destination covers 20,000 square feet with furniture and soft furnishings.  Whilst Ashoke manages the staff and running of the business, Arun travels to Copenhagen, Milan, Cologne and beyond. Each individually picked item comes from a range of worldwide suppliers: Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bali, Shanghai, Ho-Chi Min City, Bangkok, Delhi, Jaipur and Jodhpur. And the stock Arun selects is so individual, so bespoke.

The place is vast. Arun tells me they recently came upon a 10 year old art tube of limited edition prints by Jolomo, (John Lowrie Morrison) the Highlands and Islands landscape artists,  Hamish Mcdonald, the Scottish colourist and Gillian McDonald the renowned landscape artist and one of the top-selling print artists of her time.  Forgotten prints that Arun tells me he is framing and getting ready for sale. Let’s hope it’s soon!

Helping the Community

With such a huge business to run, countries to travel to and an enormous building to manage, one would think the team are fully occupied.  Yet, central to the company’s ethos has always been to give back to the community.  Charities that the brothers have supported include Marie Curie, CHAS, RNLI, Cash for Kids and Smile Train.  In donating six life-size Elvis statues for auction, the company raised over £20,000.  They’ve even shaved their heads to raise money for worthy causes.

True philanthropists, their company ethos reflects their positive, honest attitude – quality bespoke items, affordable pricing and exceptional service. These qualities have recently seen them nominated in The City of Glasgow Awards, honouring independent businesses. Well deserved.

After visiting, will I visit again? Birrells building, fabulous furniture and an utterly lovely team of people. The Store might be a destination showroom, but it’s a destination that’s worth the effort.

The Store Interiors
26 Munro Place
G13 2UP


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