1838 - 1978
The shop was originally built by Walter Ballantyne & Son, Grocers, Wine Merchants and Italian Warehousemen. It was then a sort of giant general store, selling goods from ladies shoes to their own whisky. Ballantyne’s sadly closed in the early 1970s with the advent of supermarkets. After Ballantynes, the space was run as a rather wonderful and eccentric auction house – busy monthly sales dominated life in St Boswells.Read more
As much as possible has been preserved from the original shop fit, including what are believed to be the original front doors (beautifully restored by Shaun Fagan, former Mainstreet staffer), now reused in the café.
2008 - present
We bought the Mainstreet buildings in 2007. After fairly extensive renovations, the bookshop and café opened in June 2008. Our mission has always been to champion what we love, and offer customers a wonderful shopping experience. In 2012, we developed the beautiful barn behind the main shop to create our Deli & Home shop.
Almost ten years on, the shop has gained a wonderful, loyal customer base, with new people coming through the doors every day. Mainstreet has won a number of prestigious prizes over the years including Independent Bookshop of the Year (2012), Children’s Bookseller of the Year (2010) and Deli of the Year (2014) and Scottish Independent Bookshop of the Year (2011).Close
Like many bookshops, our talented team includes people from all walks of life including several artists (see our famous window displays), a genetic scientist and a sheep farmer who asked for a job simply to ensure she spoke to humans at least once a week.
Originally from the west coast of Scotland, Rosamund was children’s marketing director at Bloomsbury Children’s Books for years and worked on the Harry Potter series from the beginning. She has an understandable bias towards children’s books, but has been busy reading more ‘adult’ books since opening the shop.
Formerly a freelance professional photographer, Bill retrained as a chef in 2007. He runs the food side of Mainstreet. Since opening the deli in 2012, he has become something of a cheese-obsessive, a judge for the World Cheese Awards, ask him what’s good right now when you visit the Deli.
Vivian has been with Mainstreet almost since the beginning, and as an artist, cook and reader, she sums up what the shop’s about. She helped run the Hawick Book Award for many years and has twice served as a judge for the Scottish Children’s Book of the Year.
Phillippa runs the Home department at Mainstreet, and has transformed the space into a welcoming oasis of beautiful things for the house. A talented artist, she has been responsible for many of our unique window displays over the years.
Following an early career in the world of theatre and music, Bertrand (pictured with chef, Olia Hercules) subsequently devoted his life to food. He has cooked all over the world from Chile and Bahrain, to the Isle of Skye and, more locally, he ran Plaisir du Chocolat in Melrose for several years.
Emily joined Mainstreet in 2016 to work with Bill in the Deli and Café. Brought up on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border, she is always happy to debate local loyalties, and keen to recommend her favourite cheeses.
Local designer, Vivienne Seeley, created our Mainstreet logo, brilliantly combining the charm of illustration with crisp Gill Sans lettering, she has worked with us ever since. Together, we have developed a small range of Mainstreet merchandise including mugs, aprons, pencils, notebooks and bags. Our most recent mugs are decorated with gorgeous line drawings of Mainstreet by Shaun Fagan (former Mainstreet staffer).
To see the full range, click here.