THE owner of a Saltcoats family business says he has "mixed feelings" about closing following his decision to retire.

Gregor Watson on Dockhead Street has been in operation for exactly a century, having first opened on Countess Street in 1922.

It is a sad day for local residents, with so many making use of the nearby, reliable and friendly service offered by the elctrical goods store.

Though they will feel better in the knowledge that this "end of an era" is by choice, and that current owner Peter Watson has not had his hand forced.

Famous for their free same day delivery, and top notch customer service, those with memories of Saltcoats were quick to relive their good experiences upon hearing the sad news.

One local commented: "So sad to hear Gregor Watson is closing down, I remember my mum bought a tv from there, not only did they deliver it for free, they set it up for her, and took the time to show her how to work the remote control, and took the packaging away."

These stories were far from one offs either, with hundreds sharing their own experiences on social media too.

Another added: "Used this store for many a year. Sorry to see it go. Take care everyone going forward

"One year my cooker packed in at Christmas and within an hour I had one delivered and saved the Christmas dinner. Not many places could supply this service."

And though current owner Peter Watson feels the time is right to step away, he is still unsure how to feel about closing down.

He told the Herald: "As retiring was a choice issue , I will gradually sell off the small amount of residual stock over a couple of weeks, as it was my grandfathers business, I obviously have mixed feelings about going.

"The customer facing part of the business was the part I always enjoyed the most and the interaction with a lot of nice people.

"We regularly had customers say that they came in for a 'distress purchase' and our van was sitting outside their house on their return!

"We had a price match policy which people always liked and a discount scheme for Hunterston workers."

Though Peter is glad that it is "just retirement" that is taking him away from Gregor Watson, as he looked to life beyond the business.

He commented: "My reasons for retiring were age, I am 62 and getting a balance between having enough pennies in the piggy bank and having time to do other things while you can is always a tricky one. When is the right time?

"My wife and I have two holiday lets, one in Spain and one in Arran which we will continue to promote."

And despite looking to the future, Peter was also keen to reminisce about the great Saltcoats institution, with 100 years of history.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: An old poster advertising the store.An old poster advertising the store. (Image: Three Towners)

He explained: "My grandfather, Gregor Watson was an electrician in Coatbridge and 100 years ago he heard that the power cable was being laid into the Three Towns.

"He moved down to take advantage of this and he did the first ever wiring of a lot of the houses in this area.

"My father John Watson converted the business from contracting to retail in 1959 and in 1960 we bought our current premises from Duncan the drapers who moved across the road to what is now Ladbrokes."

Now he is moving on, and the business will soon be no more, Peter is confident that Gregor Watson will have left a lasting legacy in Saltcoats.

He said: "I would like to think that we brought local employement for a small team of people for a long long time and hopefully enhanced the town.

"As members of the powerful Euronics buying group we bought at very competitive prices but also offered a 'family business' personalised service.

"I will miss my customers and the buzz of hard work but also look forward to doing many things I didn’t have the time for."

Gregor Watson is still open at the moment, and will remain open until all residual stock is cleared.