City meets Shire as Country Ways opens new store in Banchory

For over forty years shoppers in the west end of Aberdeen have enjoyed the area’s premier, country, lifestyle and equestrian store, Country Ways, and now the owners have expanded their business with the opening of Country Ways 2 in Banchory.

By Dawn Renton
Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 7:00 am
Jumping for joy... the cheerful, knowledgeable staff, are on hand to help shoppers at the new Country Ways store in Banchory.
Jumping for joy... the cheerful, knowledgeable staff, are on hand to help shoppers at the new Country Ways store in Banchory.

It’s a little-known fact that Country Ways actually started as a pharmacy! The precursor to the business was originally part of Charles Michie’s Pharmacy on Powis Terrace, Kitty Brewster.

It not only benefited from being close to three doctors’ surgeries but had its busiest day on a Friday, when the nearby Aberdeen cattle market was open.

The canny farmers would make the most of their day in the big city buying and selling their beasts but also stocking up on essentials.

The store on Bridge Street is stocked with country and equestrian clothing, footwear and accessories, luxury foods and sweets, gifts and there’s a dedicated room full of dog apparel, treats and training equipment.

An opportunity to purchase the shop next door presented itself to John and Charles Michie, joint owners and brothers of the business, who jumped at the chance.

Charles Michie Farm Sales was opened soon after to service the needs of the farmers and their animals.

Charles recounts the meteoric change with the explosion of people enjoying everything the equestrian world had to offer, in turn their customers requesting “horsey stuff”.

He said: “There was nowhere in Aberdeen or the shire that people could go to purchase not just the items the horses needed but also the riders”.

So The Aberdeen Tack Room was born.

Charles continued: “Saturdays were utter bedlam but such fun, the children would come into the store to get kitted out from top to toe as well as their ponies’ bits and pieces being purchased.”

The Michie brothers took the decision to close The Aberdeen Tack Room and launch their new store, Country Ways, on the corner of Great Western Road and Holburn Street.

Now 43 years later, the Michie family are now expanding with the opening of Country Ways 2 in Banchory.

John and Charles are still very much involved, but the running of the stores is in the hands of Charles’s daughter, Rosemary, and her team.

Rosemary said: “We’re very excited with this new phase of the business that we are entering, and despite very challenging times recently for the retail, we remain passionate about the high street and the communities we serve.

"Our team have worked flat out this past year to adapt to the changing needs and shopping habits of customers during the pandemic; including opening an out-of-town Christmas pop-up shop, a complete overhaul of our website and in-store IT system to make it easier to shop online with us and learning to do all our seasonal buying over zoom! It’s been quite a year and culminating in opening a new store is something really special indeed.”

Sophie Bultitude, manager at Country Ways, added: “The new store in Banchory has been a very exciting project for the whole team, it was Banchory’s worst kept secret! The new store has brought a whole different dimension to Country Ways, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.”