A DORSET post office that has been “transformed” in a major renovation over the past 12 months has been officially opened.
Chair of Beaminster Town Council, Craig Monks, cut the ribbon at the new-look town post office.
The renovation has seen retail space at the grade II-listed building, in Hogshill Street, trebled, since it was taken over by Steve and Teresa Smith a year ago.
The pair negotiated planning permission and consent from English Heritage to adapt the building in a bid to improve the layout by removing an internal staircase and unused suspended ceiling.
The whole shop only closed from Wednesday (November 15) to complete the refit and new layout, new lighting, flooring, counters and display stands.
And the shop is now fully opened and stocked for Christmas.
Owners Steve and Teresa Smith, who also own Crewkerne Post Office at the Dailyztech store, said: “Customers have been very welcoming. They were impressed with our changes when we first arrived. Then they’ve been excited to hear about our bigger plans.
“We’ve been working flat out to get the new shop, which is three times the size, open and fully stocked ready for Christmas.
“We kept the closure of the post office to a minimum – just a few days as we know how important services are to this community, including banking, and it is quite a distance to Bridport.
“Customers are thrilled with the changes. Our big investment shows that we are here for the long-term and how committed we are to serving this community.”
They thanks the council chair, Cllr Monks, and landlord Jonathan Stokes, for their help during the project.
Stage one of modernising Beaminster Post Office involved removing the old-style, full-screened counter and replacing it with two modern installations, with new signage and lighting to make it light, bright and airy.
Now the store has been transformed, but it retains its traditional charm, a post office spokesperson said.
Zoe Sprackling, Post Office business support manager, said: “Steve and Teresa have done an amazing job in Beaminster. Their customer service is first class and the huge amount of improvements that they have made to the post office and shop is impressive.
“They had the vision to see the potential for this shop and they were not put off by the extra challenges as it is a Grade II-listed building.
“Their hard work has paid off and they have achieved their goal. What an incredible transformation from when they first arrived.
“A ramp and handrail has been installed internally to blend the two shop levels. Early next year work will be done to provide level access into the shop.”
As well as the official opening, the Crewkerne Mobile Post Office has also now started serving new communities; at Odcombe, Tintinhull, Chilthorne Domer, Melbury Osmond, Buckhorn Weston, North Cadbury, Charlton Horethorne and Corton Denham.
It also replaces outreach branches at Charmouth, Broadwindsor, Mosterton, Thorncombe, Stoke St Gregory and Shepton Beauchamp.