Successful reopening for Birstwith Post Office and shop

Matthew and Andrea Walwyn at Birstwith Post Office.  (140328M4a)
Matthew and Andrea Walwyn at Birstwith Post Office. (140328M4a)

Birstwith Post Office and village shop reopened last week following a ten day renovation.

The Post Office counter is now part of the retail area of the shop, where people can buy hot or cold food, stamps, and other amenities.

As part of the improvements being carried out in Post Offices across the country, the Birstwith branch now has longer opening hours along with a modernised interior.

Matthew Walwyn, who has owned the Post Office and shop for eight years with his wife Andrea, said: “Moving the Post Office counter is going to make it better for everybody I think.

“The main benefit for our customers is they will be able to use the Post Office facilities as long as the shop is open.

“It has also meant that we could take the opportunity to modernise things and brighten the shop. We have a brand new freezer, and new floor, as well as a new ceiling and retail counter.

“It needed it really, so we took the opportunity to do it at the same time. It just made sense.”

Though moving the counter was funded by the Post Office, Mr and Mrs Walwyn paid for the other new features.

The modern interior and the extended opening hours of 7.30am to 6pm from Monday to Friday and 7.30am to 2pm on Saturday and bank holidays, have proved popular with customers.

Thelma Bowlan, from Darley, was at the reopening. She said: “It looks very nice, and they are very helpful here.”

Adrian Smith brings packages to the Post Office during his lunch break and is now able to process them on the same day.

He said: “I come in every day and it is very convenient.”

And Clive Francis, who has supported the Post Office and shop since moving to Birstwith five years ago, said: “It is vital for the village and it looks great.”

Customers from the village itself, as well as much further afield, have supported Birstwith Post Office and shop with its committed team of staff, all of whom will be trained to use the Post Office.

Mrs Walwyn said: “We get lots of regular customers here, but quite a mix of people because we do get regulars that come from far away.

“Everybody thinks the whole refurbishment is fantastic and it shows a commitment to having a thriving village shop in the community.

“It will be great for the community. We are a really busy shop and we have built up very regular trade, and I think it should be a model for the future of village shops.”