Last store closure leaves village residents with four mile trek

Public meeting failed to save community shop from closure

A MORAY VILLAGE shop closed its doors for the last time on Sunday after extensive efforts to find someone to run it failed.

The last remaining general store in Garmouth closed as a full-time concern almost exactly three years ago – leaving many at the time facing a five-hour bus journey to reach their nearest shops in Fochabers.

The village at one time boasted 11 shops but one by one they vanished – with the final store closure causing one local to comment “the next time a politician or council official stands up and says a new supermarket development will create jobs then they should look at Garmouth and Kingston”.

However, the local Garmouth Hotel did come to the rescue in 2012, creating space to establish a community-run replacement store in the community while post office services were provided by a mobile van visiting a few hours each week.

Now that store has also gone as a community leader bemoaned the fact that only seven villagers turned out at a meeting held to discuss the future of the shop. David McKay, chairman of the local amenity association, said: “We leafleted virtually every home in both Kingston and Garmouth telling them about the meeting in advance.

“It was disappointing to see so few turn out considering the local population is about 430. Nothing positive came from the meeting – the committee almost outnumbered the people who came along.”

Mr McKay added that he had read there were 35 shops in the two villages in 1856 – “now there is a hair salon and that is it” he added.

The closure of the community-run shop will mean the nearest store is now four miles away in Mosstodloch – not so far for those with their own transport, but very difficult for those without.

“It is very much the end of an era,” Mr McKay said, adding: “I just feel sorry for older people who don’t drive – they are the ones who will suffer the most.”