A SHOP owner is preparing to ring the till for the last time after putting his family-run business up for sale after decades as a seafront staple.

Adrian Wood is selling his shop, Gaiety Bazaar, which has stood on Pier Hill, Southend for 50 years.

His family took over the shop, which originally dates beck to 1911, in the Sixties.

Mr Wood said he’ll be sad to finally hand over the keys to his business, which has become nothing short of a lifestyle for him.

The business owner said: “I’ve been here since 1977 but it’s been in my family since about 1960. I’ve been running it a long time. Everyone has to pack up their job at some time, I’ve just has a hip replacement and I want to enjoy some retirement.

“It would be nice if someone takes it over and carries it on, but I will be sad if someone changes the use entirely.

Whatever job someone’s been in for some time there’ll be an aspect of sadness when they leave it..”

He added: “I have seen so many changes to our seafront during my time here. I’ve seen coaches of people come for the illuminations, the big pier fire and also Peter Pan’s develop into Adventure Island and I’ve seen how the seafront has been modernised. It will be a sad day when I hand over the keys.

“It’s a business where you open every day from March to November and has been a lifestyle for me. It’s amazing the amount of people who come in and share memories of visiting the shop, or bring their children and grandchildren after coming in when they were younger.

“Quite a lot of customers have been coming for many, many years and I will miss customers that I’ve got to know and see often. There are lots of memories I have from working here; Southend Airshows were always so exciting and the crowds were huge.”

The shop is being marketed by Dedman Gray with a price tag of £325,000 for the site’s freehold.

Estate agent Gerard Biagioni said: “I dare say very few businesses in the area have been there as long.

“Given the location I think it could be used for almost anything, and with planning rules changing that’s a possibility.” Call the estate agents on 01702 744003.