A MARRIED couple who have sold stationery from their Haddington store for almost 50 years have shut up shop for the last time.

Alistair and Jenny Watson have been selling pens, envelopes, labels, sticky tape and much more from Watsons of Haddington, on Market Street, since 1967.

However, they closed the door on Christmas Eve for the final time.

Eighty-five-year-old Alistair told the Courier that a lot had changed after just short of 48 years in the shop.

He said: “We started in 1967 and we decided after 48 years that was enough.

“I’m quite looking forward to retirement but the whole area has changed since we started.

“I’ve enjoyed it but it has completed changed.

“Nowadays, stationery shops are closing left, right and centre – we are one of the few that has kept going.” More and more people are ordering stationery online or visiting supermarkets, but Alistair and Jenny, 82, still had their regular customers up until the very end.

That included a shipbuilder in Kilmacolm, Inverclyde, who sent a letter thanking the Watsons for all their help over the years.

Alistair, who admitted he was looking forward to the occasional long lie, said: “It’s amazing when you think about it.

“People have said to me that their stationers has closed down and you get people coming down from Edinburgh for stationery.” Originally, the shop was only meant to be a ‘sideline’ for Alistair, who worked as a stationery rep covering the whole of Scotland and the north of England.

But the business proved such a success that he was becoming more and more involved in its day-to-day running.

He said: “It has been enjoyable. The people are good – all very nice.” The family are happy that there will continue to be a stationery presence at the shop on 27 Market Street.

Alistair, of Haddington’s Burnside, said: “There are two young Polish people coming in.

“They are carrying it on as a stationery shop.” Paul Kinnoch, chairman of Haddington and District Business Association, said it was a historic occasion.

He added: “Obviously, 48 years is just tremendous.

“From myself as chairman of Haddington and District Business Association I would like to wish them all the very best and thank them for the years of service to Haddington and the community.

“We wish them all the best in their retirement.”