Fears that Hawick might have been left without a post office have been put to bed with the launch of a new service in Dickson Street.
Concerns were raised that town centre residents could be left in the lurch when the post office in Sandbed closed suddenly in May, leaving residents with a four-mile round trip to the Burnfoot post office in Kenilworth Avenue.
And although the Sandbed branch reopened a few days later, residents will be reassured by the launch of a new service in the refurbished G & K McCusker Spar shop in Dickson Street last week.
Managed by Kathryn and George McCusker, who used to run the Burnfoot post office, the new service will be available seven days a week, with the post office counter open from 7am to 8pm, Monday to Sunday.
The new branch will offer customers a wide range of post office services, from posting letters and parcels to collecting and returning online shopping, paying bills and banking services, including cash withdrawals and balance enquiries.
The new branch aims to complement the services offered in Burnfoot and Sandbed.
Scott Hamilton, Post Office change manager, said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for customers to pay their bills, withdraw cash from their bank accounts, and send and collect their mail at a time and place that suits them best.
“We know how important our services are to customers, and are confident that this brand new Post Office alongside our other branches, will ensure that people in the community have easy access to our services.”
Kathryn McCusker said the post office within the Dickson Street store would offer existing and new customers an additional service, and complement the newly refurbished shop.
She said: “The post office opened on Friday – it’s early days but it has been fairly steady.
“The feedback we have had so far has all been positive. The regulars that use the shop are very pleased, and we have had a few different people in too to see where we are and the service we will be providing.
“I know there were some issues with Sandbed earlier this year. The post office is still open there but we’re in a slightly different area so we’re covering a different part of the community.”
Kathryn added that manning the post office counter for 91 hours per week could create jobs at G & K McCusker in the near future.
“At the moment we are working with the staff we have got but we will get another one or two in to cover shifts,” she said.
“The post office counter will be open from 7am, so we’ll get a couple of hours in the morning before that to make sure the shop is all set up and that it still gets the attention that it needs.
“It’s only a small branch with one counter, but it will be available from 7am to 8pm, so we hope it will be useful to people who maybe work in other areas of the town or further afield and don’t get the opportunity to use a post office. We’re open at weekends too so hopefully that will be helpful to those people.
“I just hope that the public will use us and support us in our new endeavour.
“We have done a whole refit in the shop – it’s all brand new, and we hope that the shop and the post office will work well together.”