Keith’s newsagents’ refit is a family affair

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Words and photographs by Mark Davey

An octogenarian and his 20 year-old grandson are re-fitting part of a Main Street shop.

Last Saturday, George McMillan, 88, assisted his young relative Bradley McMillan as the pair installed wall hung retail gondolas for fancy gift bags.

Mr McMillan senior was a Argyll Colliery coal miner, until the pit closed in 1967 when he took over a fish and chip shop. For the past 43 years he has managed Keith’s Newsagents, at 22 to 24 Main Street, which originally opened about 110-years-ago.

The staunch Labour party member, who was both a Campbeltown town and Strathclyde councillor was told, at the start of his business career, that a ‘Labour man would not be able to run a business.’

Last June the Courier reported that, after years of battling water ingress through the decking above his shop, Mr McMillan had joined a £625,000 repair scheme.

In 2014 George McMillan, joined forces with other tenants and owners to form the Main and Longrow South Property Owners Association, which includes Wyvex Media Ltd, the Couier’s parent company, to bid for cash from Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and Argyll and Bute Council.

The project, following 10 to 14 McLean Place, was the latest part of the Campbeltown Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS).

Building work, by Glasgow conservation specialists John Fulton (Plumbers) Ltd, started during May last year and the scaffolding came down at the start of January, following roof and decking repairs.

Last week Mr McMillan’s shop frontage was repainted and he started refurbishing the interior, at the rear of the shop, which had been closed off for the building works.

Scaffolding erected through the deck during the works. NO_c23cars11_scaffold_through_deck

A rotten deck beam above Mr McMillan’s shop. NO_c23cars08_rotten_beam

The refurbished and slabbed deck. 25_c11keiths02_Slabbed_Deck

George McMillan and his grandson Bradley McMillan during work in the shop on Saturday afternoon. 25_c11keiths01_George_and_Bradley_McMillan