A Saltcoats family business, which has served the town for more than a century, has closed its doors for the last time.

George Stark and Son, known affectionately among locals as ‘Starks’, has been a fixture in Hamilton Street for 112 years.

The newsagents and tobacconist has stood through two World Wars, watched the decline of local industry and served holidaying families when Saltcoats was a top UK seaside destination.

Its welcoming staff, Gillian and Denise, have clocked up more than 70 years between them working at the store. But the Herald understands that the much-loved business has been sold by owner Ross McSherry. It closed its doors forever on Saturday, September 28.

Gillian agreed that the closure was sad for the town and told the Herald: “I’ve been here 37 years and Denise has been here 34 years so you can understand how we’re feeling.”

More than 100 customers commented on the Herald’s Facebook page after we reported that Starks was closing. Many expressed concerns over what the closure would mean for the future of Saltcoats. Locals also praised Gillian and Denise, wishing them good luck.

Gary Lundie said: “Another sad loss to what was once a thriving town centre when I was young. There’s almost nothing left of the old Saltcoats, what a shame.”

Helen Gibson described Starks as “a local institution”, while Margaret Rout said she would miss the “good shop and good staff”.

Maureen Thomas Frew described Gillian and Denise as “an asset to Starks”, adding that she “will miss the banter”.

Carole Mckerrell added: “So sad to see another business close. I used to love Saltcoats on a Saturday afternoon when it was really busy.”