Natural Crafts gets stamp of approval in Melrose

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The doors to Melrose’s former post office building have been flung open again after a speedy post-Christmas transformation.

But the building, home to the town’s postal services for more than 30 years, now offers something completely different to stamps and envelopes.

Natural Crafts and Gifts in Melrose's old post office.

Natural Crafts and Gifts in Melrose's old post office.

The Buccluech Street unit now hosts Natural Crafts and Gifts, a craft shop owned by Greenlaw couple Catherine and Mark Bauer.

The shop’s new look is proving something of a tourist attraction in the town, with many residents popping in not just to try to post a letter but to see what been done with the old institution.

“People are really keen to see what has become of the old post office, so we seem to be a bit of a tourist attraction too,” Catherine said.

“Melrose was the right place and the right time.

“We were looking to expand the retail side of the business and looking for a place where people could come and craft.

“Now we’ve got the space for people to come buy what they need, then start or finishing their own craft products.”

The 41-year-old former nurse set up her own candle making business, Borders Aromatics, eight years ago.

The mum of three then began Natural Crafts and opened its first shop in the former doctors’ surgery in Lauder’s Edinburgh Road in 2015, before expanding further to include four members of full and part-time staff, some of whom supply goods including metal work, and kids craft goods to the business.

The Melrose space opened in November, just three weeks after the post office made the move up town to the Mason’s of Melrose book store.

And while the building has been completely renovated, its distinctive yellow door remains inside, as does the old main door and the post office counter, which now serves as a tea station for anyone taking part in crafty lessons in the small workshop.

Catherine’s husband, Mark, 45, who led the renovation, added: “After a rapid but extensive renovation to make a spectacular destination for Melrose, the building has been revitalised.

“Many people popped their heads in during the building works expressing how much they love the building as one of the older important buildings in the town and wished it to become something renewed again.”

And while there have been a few customers still yielding parcels and packages for posting, the response to the new shop has been positive.

Former hairdresser Lynn Gray, from Duns, who works full time for the company, said: “It’s amazing how many people are that way inclined in this area. We had no idea until we opened in Melrose.

“We’re aiming to stock even more local craft goods and equipment and are very aware that people and tourists want locally sourced products. We’re trying to keep everything natural-based too.”

Part time shop worker and florist Lynsay Forster, from Lilliesleaf, added: “Melrose people have been really supportive, as have our fellow traders.

“People have been excited about the crafters we have coming in. We’ve already hosted wreath-making workshops and have more lined up including crocheting and crafting for kids and hopefully knitting and calligraphy.”

The shop is open Monday to Saturday from 9am to 5pm.