It wasn’t just a store ... it was a community

Final photo-call: Staff gather for one last time
Final photo-call: Staff gather for one last time

Doors close at Kirkcaldy Tesco for last time & within hours the checkouts are boarded up & signs taken down

An eerie silence hangs over the former Tesco store, with only a handful of people wandering through a makeshift corridor to use the post office.

Customers and staff were hugging each other and there were a few tears shed when we closed on Saturday

Tom Adams

Large wooden partitions have been put up - closing off the once bustling store where people met to do their shopping and have a coffee or a bite to eat in the cafe.

Many of them were elderly and for some, it was their only weekly outing.

Tesco closed its doors for the final time at 6.00 p.m. on Saturday after 43 years in town.

A group of regular customers gathering outside the store to wave goodbye.

Leven Councillor Tom Adams who has worked at the store for the past seven years, along with his wife, an employee of 25 years and daughter who served customers for 10 years, all said their farewells to their workplace, along with 186 other staff members.

“It was an emotional day for everyone,” he told the Press. “We’ve not just lost a store, we’ve lost a community.

“Customers and staff were hugging each other and there were a few tears shed when we closed on Saturday.

“There was also relief, because, once the final decision was made that it was closing, it was hanging over our heads.”

Tom said that he believed around half of the staff have found other employment or been relocated to other Tesco stores.

By 10.00 p.m that night all signs outside the store had been removed and lorries and vans began removing all the store fittings.

A workman said that everything would be cleared out by Friday morning.

It was announced by Tesco that the store would close back in January and intervention by Gordon Brown, former MP, and a huge public campaign led by the Fife Free Press, failed to change its mind.

Now Mr Brown is seeking assurances that the Post Office, which re-opened on Tuesday, will remain a part of the town centre.

According to information given to him, a new franchise holder is being sought for it to move to another site in the centre of the town.

Mr Brown is demanding that any future main Post Office be situated in the heart of the town.

“The bottom line is that the Post Office must be in the centre, it must be at the heart of the town to meet the needs of around 4000 pensions who use it every week,” he said.

“I will be insisting that, in any decision that is made, a central location is the prime consideration. I’m told that the Post Office within Tesco may relocate temporarily to another site in the Postings.

“However before deciding on a permanent site, the same condition should apply – the main Post Office must be in the centre of town.”

Councillor David Ross, Leader of Fife Council, said: “The engagement with Tesco did result in a commitment to retain the Post Office until at least the end of the lease period at the end of this year.

“From a jobs perspective, we hook up with Skills Development Scotland’s PACE service and it provides careers advice to groups of employees in these situations.”