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History of McGowans and the Argyll Arcade

Join us as we look back in time at the history of our stores and how we became one of the most reputable family jewellers in Scotland’s first ever indoor shopping centre, and in the only remaining arcade in the country.

When did McGowans start?

First established in 1895 in the heart of Glasgow, originally founded by Mrs McGowan who came from Donegal, Ireland. McGowans initially started as a small market stall in the East End of Glasgow at a famously run marketplace known as ‘The Barras’. Due to establishing a strong clientele through the Glasgow marketplace, the reputation of McGowans began to grow at a steady rate which meant there was a need for a new premise which led to the first ever shop in Glasgow.

Pictured is an old McGowans Store at 66 Argyll Arcade, Glasgow

Family run business

Family is a big part of who McGowans are. We are a fourth generation run business, and our family values have been at the heart of our stores for over 125 years.

A few of our values are trust, compassion, and honesty. But these are just some of our core values that we have stayed dedicated to over the years and made us who we are today.

In the 1920’s Mr James McCann, the grandfather of our current Managing Director Nicola McCann, joined the family run business and remained there for 60+ years, with his wife and immediate family helping with the day to day running of the shop. Nicola’s Father, Michael McCann, entered the business with his brother, Brian, around the 1960’s to work alongside their parents. From there on the business grew rapidly within the jewellery industry with the opening of approximately 20 shops across the UK and the McGowans name even reaching across the pond to Canada where the first international shop was established.

Nicola McCann joined the business in 1998 to work alongside her father Michael whilst bringing up two children, who was handed the business in 2008 and has been running the stores to this day.

Pictured is the McGowans Team at one of the Argyll Arcade Stores

Shop local

Over the decades the McGowans name and reputation has been strengthened as we are known as one of Scotland’s most trustworthy family run jewellers. We currently are consolidated across two stores in the renowned Argyll Arcade. Our team in the stores are highly experienced, professional and most of all welcoming to all our customers. McGowans has the longest serving staff in the Argyll Arcade.

The Argyll Arcade is Europe’s oldest covered shopping mall, which was built with a chic, Parisian-style including a glass roof and over 30 jewellers and diamond merchants. The building was Grade A listed in 1970 recognising its special architectural and historic national importance. The L-shaped arcade was built in 1826 and was a cut through the old tenements and provides a link between Argyle Street and Buchanan Street.

Whilst the trade has encountered many changes and tribulations over the years, our core values have always stayed the same. We consider all our customers as an extension of our family, and we welcome you all to come visit our store and support your local business’.

Whether you have visited on many occasions, only a few times or have always wanted to, we welcome you with open arms. The family at McGowans would like to thank all our customers over the many years that we have been in business, and we hope that you are still in love with your purchases.

41 Argyll Arcade, Glasgow

You can visit us in store at 4 and 41 Argyll Arcade to discover our range of affordable and beautiful new and antique jewellery. We have finance options available too.

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