Village post office saved as tea rooms and deli open
It began as a casual inquiry to catch up on the village news – and concluded with the official launch of Hoxne’s new tea rooms, delicatessen and B&B, this month.
The couple behind the venture – which has also saved the village’s post office – are husband and wife David and Joan Rogers.
Mr Rogers recalled that they were returning to Hoxne – where he has lived for four years and his wife for more than 20 – from their home in Italy when Mrs Rogers asked their taxi driver if anything had happened while they were away.
“Nothing,” was the reply. “But the post office is up for sale.”
They knew the post master and the hours he had to work to make it viable. But, because they did not have to live on the premises, they knew there would be room to expand and develop the business.
Mr Rogers began his professional life as a designer in television, then was an academic before turning to property development. None of which, he agreed, taught him anything about running a tea rooms or delicatessen. “But we have a very good manager, Rosie Baker, who does know about it,” he said.
“The staff here are a great team.”
They bought the property in April and managed to keep the post office open apart from a brief spell while the property was being prepared for the new ventures.
“We may have lost a few customers to Eye in that time but they are coming back,” said Mr Rogers.
While still carrying typical village shop stock, they have added a delicatessen serving top-quality locally-made produce and fresh vegetables. The tea rooms are already serving and upstairs the B&B is nearly ready for the first guests. Mr Rogers is the official postmaster, and his wife the postmistress, who is enjoying the contact with customers and the help she is able to give.
It has been a packed summer setting up the businesses.
“But it has also been stimulating and the village seems appreciative,” said Mr Rogers, although he also wonders when he will next see their home in Italy.