Family is a big part of who we are at McGowans. As a fourth-generation family run business, found in 1895, our family values have been at the core of our stores for almost 125 years. Trust, compassion and honesty are just a few of our family values that have stayed true to who we are today. Join us as we take a look back at the story of how we have become known as one of the most reputable family jewellers in Scotland…
Where it all began
Our fourth-generation family business is deeply rooted in the heart of Glasgow. First established in 1895 by Mrs McGowan who came from Donegal, McGowans began as a market stall in the East End of the city in a location which the world affectionately refers to as “The Barras.” The term originates from the Victorian era when community tradesmen, including our founder, sold their goods from handcarts or barrows. The Barras became more formalised in the 1920’s with the building of the McIver’s Sheds and the famous Barrowlands Ballroom. As the reputation of the McGowans stall continued to grow, so did the need for an established premises. This led to the purchase of our first shop in Glasgow and sewed the seed for our continual development.
Mr James McCann, the Grandfather of our current Managing Director Nicola McCann, joined the family business around the 1920’s and remained there for over 60+ years. He married Jean McCann who also helped out with the day to day running of the business along with her sisters Lilly and Edith.
Nicola’s Father, Michael McCann, entered the business with his brother, Brian, around the 1960’s to work alongside their Father and Mother. From there the business grew rapidly across the country with the McGowans name becoming a well-known jewellery brand in the market. During this time, there were around 20 shops across the UK. The McGowans name even made its way over to Toronto in Canada where our first international store was established.
We were fast becoming known as the ‘go-to’ jewellery store, especially for those special moments in life such as engagements. So much so that the term ‘McGowans – the Engaging People’ was affectionately associated with our brand.
Nicola McCann, joined the business in 1998 to work alongside her Father Michael whilst bringing up two children. Michael left the business ten years later in 2008 due to ill health and the business was then handed over to Nicola, who has been running the stores to this day.
Renowned family jewellers throughout Scotland…
Throughout the years we have cemented our reputation as one of Scotland’s most trustworthy family run jewellers. We are now consolidated across three stores, two of which are in Glasgow’s iconic Argyll Arcade and another is situated in Aberdeen’s busy Union Street which opened around four years ago in August 2015. We couldn’t do what we do best without our team of friendly and professional staff who are also part of the family. McGowans has the longest serving staff in the Argyll Arcade.
Just as our business has progressed through the generations, many regular customers can say their parents, or even their grandparents, have bought jewellery throughout their lives in McGowans.
Family trade has encountered many changes over the years, in terms of our stock, our relationship with technology, and indeed the numerous refurbishments of the shops themselves.
That said, many aspects of our company are reminiscent of that original stall at the Barras. Our core values of exceptional quality, outstanding value for money and high standards of personal service continue to underpin the work we do every day.
We consider all of our valued customers as an extension of the McGowans family. We would love to welcome you into one of our boutiques in Glasgow or Aberdeen. Whether you have visited us many times before, or perhaps it is your first visit, you will be guaranteed a warm welcome and a friendly, professional service.
Find out more about our stores here.
Take a look back at some photos of our stores from over the years below.