It’s been a strange week for Kirkcaldy town centre, one that’s brought a fair amount of mixed emotions.
The ongoing saga of the High Street’s sinking fortunes has grabbed our attention a lot recently, but it all came to a head on Tuesday.
Here at the Press, I can’t deny that there was a great deal of excitement during the auction of the Postings.
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Huddled round a laptop, the team watched events unfold online, as the auctioneer drew closer and closer to lot 72 – the small shopping centre that had caused so much fuss.
We’d always known that this would be a big story locally when it first broke. Afterall, who wouldn’t care that what was once one of the busiest routes in the town centre was now up for auction for just £1?
But what we didn’t bank on was the national interest it would draw.
Perhaps the most surreal moment came when a BBC camera crew showed up on our doorstep to film a segment for the One Show.
It’s always a strange situation when the newspaper becomes involved in the story rather than just telling it.
Still, all went smoothly, the crew grabbed some shots in the office, and we all tried our hardest not to get caught on camera.
So when the time came for the auction we knew there’d be a fair few folk watching – afterall, a five-minute slot on primetime TV is always going to help.
Our astonishment grew with each bid, as the topic of the week took another turn.
Finally, the mysterious buyer took the prize for the sum of £310,000, along with some legal costs totalling around £6000.
With the results in, there was no time to stop for a breath.
We’d had word that Marks and Spencer would be closing early on its final day in Kirkcaldy High Street.
When we arrived on the scene, amid the pouring rain, the sight that awaited us was nothing short of breath-taking.
The store itself may have appeared almost empty, but the staff showed that it was full of heart.
As the doors were closed to incoming customers, the final few left inside made their way to the front door.
But as they neared the exit the staff at M&S formed two parrallel lines around them and began to applaud the final customers, thanking them for their loyalty over the years.
It was a truly touching moment to witness. Rapturous applause from a guard of honour for those who had done nothing more than pick up a few of their regular items in the shop.
It was the perfect way to end the day, after the rollercoaster of emotions surrounding Kirkcaldy’s troubled retail sector, the staff at M&S showed the true meaning of class.
As they locked up for the final time, the staff, clearly emotional, waved goodbye to the cheering crowd outside and embraced each other as they made they way further into the shop.
Kirkcaldy High Street may well consist of fewer shops than ever these days, but what Tuesday showed was that it’s the people who make it.