Thrapston Post Office expands service to beat high street woes

A postmaster says business is booming after he breathed new life into his Thrapston shop - despite many UK high streets facing an uphill struggle for customers.

Saturday, 16th March 2019, 5:00 am
Thrapston postmaster Ricky Ghuman, supervisor Sue Keeble and Post Office Network Sales Support Manager Nicola Handscombe with the new travel currency rate board. Picture: Alison Bagley NNL-190315-203448005

Ricky Ghuman spotted the Post Office in High Street up for grabs in 2015 while he was working as a medical sales rep.

He snapped it up, gave it a refurb and began to grow the business.

Thrapston postmaster Ricky Ghuman, supervisor Sue Keeble and Post Office Network Sales Support Manager Nicola Handscombe NNL-190315-203626005

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Now he has proudly added a foreign currency exchange rate board to his window in the latest expansion of his services. His Post Office’s new foreign travel centre will include on-demand foreign currency and travel services.

Ricky said: “Back in 2015 I was a medical sales rep and my brother was a postmaster. I thought that I could do it too so when I saw this place up for sale I applied and I got it and it’s grown from there.”

Ricky now also runs a second full-time post office in Rothwell. During the past few years, with the closure of rural post offices and village shops, he has also supplied outreach services in eight surrounding villages including Gretton, Kings Cliffe, Rushton, Orlingbury, Loddington, Podington and Walgrave.

Ricky added: “The last bank in Thrapston closed in October so we have taken on a lot of their functions.

“We know a lot of high streets are struggling but footfall for us has gone up.

“A lot of people live alone, the buses have now gone, so they might not see another person all day.

“They are cut off so we get to know them and they appreciate that.”

Thrapston Post Office also allows people to collect mail that has gone undelivered.

Ricky said: “It took us a while to jump through the hoops to be able to provide that service but it was just common sense.

“We asked why they were sending mail all the way back to Kettering when we had a big back room? Why should people need to go all the way to Kettering where parking is a challenge to collect a parcel?

“It’s all about finding solutions for these things. If you do that for people then they remember that and they come back.”

“We go out to all the villages once a week for a few hours and people can use all the services they can at a normal branch.

“It’s a really vital service for them,”

Nicola Handscombe, Post Office network sales support manager, said: “The customer service here is just excellent. It’s some of the best I’ve ever seen.”