After 173 years of trading, Launceston’s iconic Birchalls store will close its doors for the last time at 4pm on Saturday.

The business has operated in Launceston since 1844 and has created world-wide attention, including enquiries for an interview with the BBC, when it was announced in early January that the diverse store was set to close as it was unable to attract a purchaser.

The building in Launceston’s Mall was sold last year and the developer is likely to announce their future retail plans for the building in the near future.

The business which has sold books, newspapers and magazines, toys over the years as well as served as an education and arts centre has been inundated with phone calls, letters as well as hundreds of on-line messages from sad clients visiting the store for the last time.

Manager Director, Graeme Tilley, has been astounded at the out pouring of emotions with customers of all ages who will miss the store.

“My staff have spent each day since the closure was announced bringing me up to date with stories of clients in tears and still in shock about the closure,” Mr Tilley said.

“The support and good wishes we have received has been overwhelming with past and present customers bringing in presents for staff and sending in artefacts such as a beautifully preserved 1900 Birchalls calendar.

“Staff have been amazing and I’m so proud of them. They have kept their chins up while answering many difficult questions and doing fantastic job but deep inside are also sharing the sadness.”

Mr Tilley said 4pm Saturday will be very sad when the doors close to customers for the last time.