Community shop facing closure

NEWS that Porthleven could be on the verge of losing a post office has opened a debate on how to retain such an important community service.

Postmaster Paul Edwards, who has run the Post Office and shop at Fore Street with his wife Sharon for the past 11 years, told a local reporter that the couple had run out of money with bills running into thousands of pounds still coming in.

Mr Edwards says Post Office Ltd stopped paying the couple a salary two years ago which increased financial pressures and led to the duo working up to 120 hours per week.

The business is still in difficulty and as the couple own the property, the couple are considering renting out an upstairs flat and moving into a camper van in a bid to raise much-needed cash.

It’s no secret that more and more customers are using online services to pay vehicle licence duty and bills which has contributed to a decline in franchised post offices. However, it may be worth noting that an extensive research study last year suggested more positive news.

According to Citizens Advice, nearly three million rural shoppers still visit a post office on a weekly basis  and 70 per cent of rural consumers said they also purchase essential items such as groceries during their visit.

To maximise on sales opportunities, post offices with a limited retail offering may need to diversify to survive as customers change shopping habits.

Many post offices have expanded the food side of their business by adding bakeries or specialised goods to entice more customers and offer a real reason to shop at their store.

Yet, most importantly, in these changes times we still need to support our local post office which contribute to enormously to the life and soul of our communities.

If just a handful of people in Porthleven made the decision to buy a couple of extra items from the post office store each week, the future of this business could be much safer.

Toby Hines

Toby Hines founded the Helston Advertiser in 2000 and is a passionate supporter of local businesses. He is a big believer in health and wellness and likes to begin most days with a walk around Helston with his Golden Retriever or an hour in the gym. A father of three, he is happiest when spending quality time with the family.

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