Daniel and James MacEwen
1779-1846 and 1792-1855
Long before the establishment of supermarket chains, Stirling had its own version in the firm of D and J MacEwen.
Daniel and James MacEwen commenced operation as grocers in Broad Street in Stirling and quickly gained a reputation for integrity when dealing with their customers and for quality goods at fair prices. As the town centre gradually moved from close to the castle down to its present area along Port Street and Murray Place so did their business. Over the time span of the company’s existence – well over a century and half – they expanded to branches throughout Perthshire and Stirlingshire and as far north as Inverness.
As well as grocery items, from early in their existence they were running an important grain, fertiliser and animal feed business, importing guano from Peru for use on farmlands throughout the country.
The original grocery trade was not neglected in this international trade and by the 1830’s the company was importing tea direct from China into Stirling’s harbour. Later on they were exporting their own blend of whisky – Sterlini which was named after the town – to places such as Canada, India and Africa, as well as acting as agents for various distilleries.
The company eventually folded and with it went a way of life. Days when grocers could cut an exact pound of butter from a cask by hand and when it was worth a trip to Stirling to linger at their shop doorway, just to smell the rich aroma of coffee beans.
Nevertheless this lair contains members of a family who helped shape the grocery and licensed trade throughout Scotland.