In the late 1880s David Hourston, who had arrived from Orkney, opened a shop in Kyle Street. Such was his success that he built a new shop inAlloway Street in 1896 and took in his two sons as partners. Thus began the firm of D. Hourston & sons.
On Davids death in 1917 the sons took over the business which had become one of the largest retail drapery establishments in Scotland. Its tearooms, smoking rooms and roof gardens became famed across the country.
In April 1949 the business was acquired by the House of Fraser group and in the years following, various changes took place, both in name (it became Arnotts for a time) and in ownership. Happily, the original name has now been restored and Hourstons remains one of the busiest stores in Ayr.