A ruby anniversary to treasure
This year marks the fortieth anniversary for one Kirkcaldy business – and they have a gem of a story.
AK Campbell & Sons is a family-run business with a fascinating history. Founder, Alex Campbell, was born and raised in Edinburgh before his work took him south of the border. He worked in accountancy in Yorkshire – in Rotherham – and, through his work, became fascinated by coins and banknotes – and their history.
“I began collecting them – one of the very first things I collected” says Alex at his store on Kirkcaldy’s High Street. He has two sons – Richard and Christopher – and when they were young, their education was the reason he made the move back to Scotland.
So what led him to open a shop? Alex explains: “I didn’t open a shop at first. I realised the opportunity to make the most from my interest – creating a business. I started attending fairs to buy and sell collectibles. At that time, it was very much focused on coins and banknotes – but it soon became all kinds of things … anything that people love to collect.” That was forty years ago and with each passing year, his knowledge and experience grew.
After ten years of fairs, traveling – all over – and building the business, it was a “natural step” to open a shop. In 1987, he opened at 393 High Street in Kirkcaldy before moving some years later to their present site at 277 High Street.
Today, Alex’s oldest son, Richard, manages the store in Kirkcaldy’s Merchants’ Quarter. His youngest son, Christopher, manages the family business’ store in Dunfermline that opened in 2001. Both have followed their father into the business and both have inherited their dad’s love of all-things collectible. In Dunfermline, Christopher specialises in diamond sales, repairs and the personalised make up of jewellery settings. In Kirkcaldy, Richard has introduced new opportunities in the collectibles’ market: the store is still very much a jewelers but it also sells models, from classic toys including Corgi, to Holywood franchised brands including Star Wars, Star Trek and other sci-fi movies.
Richard has a real love of model building combined with a desire to maintain the tradition. AK Campbell’s model kits are not only fun to build – for all ages – but they’re also affordable. Richard also provides a model building service for those that don’t have the time but want a model built to showcase – whether at home, in a business premises or even as a film prop.
Over the years, Alex has traveled. He says: “I’m fortunate to have traveled when I was able – and have been all over the world.” His travels have taken him to countries where his hobby, interest and passion for all things collectible played a large part.
They take enormous pride in not only being the only family-run jewelers on Kirkcaldy’s High Street but also having a customer base from far and wide – built over many years through delivering personal service. Alex says: “Each of our stores employs two other people – experienced, knowledgeable, friendly and dedicated – and we are here to help whoever walks through our door.”
Looking back on forty years in business, he says his greatest achievement in work has been just that: building a business that has lasted for four decades and counting – and that 30 of those years have been spent in business on the high street with his sons.
It is clear Alex has a place in his heart for Kirkcaldy. He is passionate about the town – despite the challenges his and other businesses have faced. Asked what advice he give to a visitor to the town, he says: “I’d tell the to take a stroll through the Merchants’ Quarter – to discover a the fantastic collection of independent retailers and businesses that make the area unique.”
A special occasion soon?
If you have any sort of special occasion coming up, AK Campbell will be sure to provide you with that special necklace, ring, earrings, bracelet or brooch designed to bring out the very best from any outfit. They also have a wide choice – from the traditional and classical to the contemporary and everything in-between. The brands they stock and sell include Tianguis Jackson, Kit Heath, Kali Ma, Dew and Heritage.
Thanks for reading.