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.

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.

More than 10 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 Britain’s Best Small Shop (2018), Deli of the Year (2014) Independent Bookshop of the Year (2012), Children’s Bookseller of the Year (2010) and Scottish Independent Bookshop of the Year (2011).


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.

Meet our incredible team by clicking here


Check back here regularly for jobs postings. 


Main Street, St Boswells

Scottish Borders


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