The story of the Jura shop

We don’t know exactly when the Shop was built but there are records of its existence in the 1881 census.

John McKechnie was the proprietor and his granddaughter, Carol Wright, pictured opening the refurbished Shop, is a Jura resident today.

According to his daughter, Betsy, “it stocked everything from a needle to an anchor, as well as groceries, clothing, boots and shoes, feeding stuff for cattle and dyes for the women who in those days spun and wove cloth”.

As a girl, Carol remembers the Shop “In my young days very little food was pre-packaged.  Flour and sugar came in sacks, there were big slabs of butter and rounds of cheese, and these all had to be weighed and packaged.  Over by the window stood the machine for slicing the sides of bacon and ham. Sometimes a new ham would be too long to fit in the machine, but there was an easy solution – just open the window and let the end hang outside!  

The post office occupied the end of the shop and had a mesh grill at the counter.  The telephone box was an important feature, having one of the few phones on the island, and where telegrams were received and sent.  All the incoming mail was sorted in the post office and all outgoing mail was date-stamped by hand before being bagged for despatch”.

The shop remained in the hands of the McKechnie family until the death of John’s son Duncan in 1952 and since then there have been a number of owners, most recently Steve & Bev Martin.  

In 2013 the process of a community buyout began as the building and the business had started to show its age.  In April 2014, the refurbished shop opened its doors again and it is hoped that the enterprise which John McKechnie began over 130 years ago will continue to flourish and serve the island for many years to come.

In 2019 the shop was very proud to win the Community Award for Scotland at the FSB Celebrating Small Business Awards, which was collected by Alicia MacInnes at Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria.

In 2019 the Jura Community Shop became an accredited Living Wage Employer. The shop want to continue to provide good employment for the local community by ensuring our staff earn a wage that meets the cost of living, not just the government minimum.