THIS weekend will see the end of an era in Taunton town centre as a family business shuts up shop - after 186 years.

The County Stores, in North Street, is finally pulling down the shutters for good at the end of trading on Saturday.

The shop, which has a food hall and sells groceries and gifts in its three-storey premises, is the latest victim of the high street crisis.

It has been run by five generations of the Duder family since 1832 and has also housed Taunton Post Office since January 2014, when the latter relocated from the nearby building now occupied by Ask restaurant.

The post office is set to remain in the premises until March 29.

The County Gazette exclusively revealed last month that the directors of the business are currently in talks with a Taunton man over the sale of the building, which could fetch around £1 million.

At the time, James Duder, one of the directors, said the potential buyer hopes to gain planning permission for a car museum on the ground floor, with a cafe at the front and motorcycles upstairs.

The County Stores staff were given redundancy notices in October after the directors admitted defeat in their struggle for several years with challenging conditions in the retail sector.

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LONG-SERVING: Director of The County Stores James Duder inside the store in Taunton with Vicky Smith, who has been with the business for 17 years

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LEGACY: James Duder with father, Hugh

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