THE end of an era in the Lochgelly business world has come with the closure of the Macari's cafe, on Auchterderran Road.

And it also brings the family's involvement in the town's business community to an end after many, many decades.

The decision was taken to close the cafe after youngest of the 10 strong Macari family, Louise, who had worked in the popular Auchterderran Road business almost all the time it had been open, felt the time was right.

We caught up with the two sisters who have run the last Macari businesses in the town, the cafe and shop at 65 High Street, Louise and Anita.

They explained that everything started in 1880 when their great grandad, Crescenzo Macari, left Italy, and came to live in Lumphinnans.

It started an amazing 140 years connection with the area and the ice cream business opened at 65 Main Street early in the 20th century and the family recipe stood the test of time with it still being used at the Main Street shop, until Anita was injured in a road accident and had to step back as a result of her injuries.

The girls were part of a 10 strong family unit led by dad Chris and mum Teresa, and it included the late Madeleine, Peter, Anita, the late Christopher, Ralph, Anthony, twins, the late Philip and Teresa, Dominic and Louise.

Said Anita, whose husband Alex worked in the ice cream vans, that covered the whole area, for many years: "The shop was the base but even in the 1930s there were three horses and carts going around the local towns and villages with Macari's ice cream.

"The fish and chip restaurant was opened beside the ice cream shop and these became very busy."

Anita remembered that the three ice cream vans run by Macari's covered the Cowdenbeath and Kelty area; Lochgelly; Benarty and Cardenden.

Forte's ran the cafe at the corner of Auchterderran Road, and being right across the road from the Lochgelly Bus Depot, it was a prime site.

Said Louise: "Dad took over the cafe from the Fashenda in 1973 and I found myself working there at weekends when I was at school.

"The bus depot made it a very busy place because there were more than 50 people working there alone, and of course it was a place where many buses dropped people off.

"Even when the garage closed, in 1982, the cafe was still very a busy place with Auchterderran Road a bustling link road from the Cowdenbeath area to Kirkcaldy and a main bus stop outside the door, which is still there today.

"Also a lot of youngsters passed the cafe going to Lochgelly High, from 1986 onwards so it has been a place which has dealt with people of all age groups for so many years.

"Over the decades I have worked at the cafe I have made a great many friends with customers, but then the Macari family motto always was 'The customer is always right'!

"There have been so many great days and although the hours were long, and for many years it was open seven days a week, these are things I will cherish."

The cafe was always a place that was a huge part of the Macari family life with the large premises perfect for Christmas dinners and family occasions, ranging from birthdays and anniversaries, to christenings.

Added Louise, "There were great people I have worked with over the years at the cafe, including Bell, Flo, Kate, Betty, Janet, Carol, Catherine, Liz and Senga.

"I also worked in the video shop we had in the town and there we had Claire, Jacqueline, Heather, Pauline, Jane, Jackie and Colin; it has been a pleasure to work with them all."

While it is the end of an era in the Lochgelly business community both Louise and Anita have many memories they will cherish.