Stoke Gifford’s newly-refurbished ‘main style’ post office in the former Jhoots Pharmacy store in Ratcliffe Drive is proving a hit with local residents and businesses.
Following its reopening at the end of June, the post office now offers three serving positions: one screened, one open plan and a third at a retail counter at the front of the store.
Services available at the branch include: Drop & Go, Parcelforce Express, vehicle tax, foreign currency, travel insurance, National Express ticket sales and Post Office banking, in addition to all the usual branch post office functions.
The new layout incorporates a consultation area where post office staff can give advice on financial products, but Jhoots say they are looking at the possibility of using this space for a self-service scanner/photocopier or photo printing kiosk.
The post office operation has now been taken under the direct control of the Jhoots pharmacy group, which operates 50 pharmacies across the UK, including seven in the Bristol area and two in Bath. It had previously been operated by an independent postmaster and then, following the transfer of the pharmacy to the nearby Stoke Gifford Medical Centre in January 2015, by an organisation acting as a temporary postmaster.
Richard Sugden, operations director at Jhoots, described the Stoke Gifford site as a new venture for the company, being its first standalone business that is not a pharmacy.
Jhoots have taken on the two staff who worked at the previous post office and are in the process of recruiting two more.
Aside from the post office function, the shop also stocks stationery, household products and a small selection of gifts. The range of products offered will be regularly reviewed and the business will respond to the needs of the community.
Mr Sugden added:
“Our initial aim is to understand what the local community wants from the shop. We will be talking to customers and getting feedback from staff. Currently, we are focussing on things that have sold well in the past.”
“We’re looking forward to seeing the business develop and expecting it to go from strength to strength.”
The refurbishment has also been welcomed by Stoke Gifford resident Roger Herbert, who owned a pharmacy business that operated in the same shop unit from 1989 to 2006, during which time the post office relocated there from North Road.
Mr Herbert, who is now director of primary care at Jhoots, said:
“Like many other local residents, I am excited to be able to access main post office services right on my doorstep here in Stoke Gifford.”
Current opening hours are 8.30am to 5.30pm Mon – Fri and 8.30am to 12.30pm on Saturday, although these may in due course be varied to reflect the needs of the community.
Photo: Jhoots directors and staff at the newly-refurbished post office in Ratcliffe Drive. L-r: Richard Sugden (operations manager), Hazel Phelps (post office assistant) and Roger Herbert (director of primary care).
This article originally appeared in the August 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.