Selkirk’s post office has returned to its old Market Place home now its latest incarnation has opened within the Liberty Star Trading gift shop.
It marks another new chapter in the shop’s growing success story as Post Office bosses have given their stamp of approval by picking it to host the town’s new local service branch.
Liberty Star Trading was born out of an idea for a school fair in October 2012.
When Caroline Penman and Leanne Main attended their first Christmas fair, they discovered that there was a keen market for affordable fashion accessories and gifts after their stall sold out of goods.
After that, they made use of pop-up shops and events to build their business and try out new products.
In 2013, the pair launched their own website – www. libertystartrading.com – and the following year, they opened their current shop in Selkirk.
The company’s Facebook page boasts more than 4,500 followers, including customers as far afield as Australia and New Zealand.
Liberty Star Trading was approached by the Post Office with the suggestion of taking over the franchise for Selkirk after outgoing postmistress Marbeth Weatherup announced her decision to retire, having run the town post office from both its previous homes in Market Place and latterly High Street for many years.
“We gave a lot of thought to it after the Post Office approached us, and we decided it would be a really good move for Liberty Star Trading,” Caroline said.
“While it felt like the right thing to do at the time, it is a wee bit daunting.
“However, our first week has been really good, and the customers have been fab.
“They know that we are just learning this week and have been patient.”
Both Leanne, a secretary at her husband’s electrical firm, and Caroline, a worker for an accountancy firm, are now fully trained to Post Office standards and are aiming to be in the shop as much as possible over the coming adjustment period.
Inside the shop, at 40 Market Place, the interiors area has been tranformed to house two post office terminals alongside retail tills.
Looking forward, the pair have also taken on one new part-time employee, Jo Blyth, to help with the extra footfall expected through the shop in the coming months.
Leanne added: “With Christmas coming up, we will all get plenty of practice at what we should be doing, and it’s a great time for getting new people into the shop to see what we have got here.”
Post office services are available during the shop’s opening hours of 9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 4pm on Saturday.
Customers will be able to access services including special delivery, local collect, home shopping returns, online banking, sending funds abroad, paying bills, pre-ordering travel money and travel insurance.
Post Office regional manager Suzanne Richardson said: “We are confident that this vibrant new-style post office at the heart of the local community will meet customer needs.”