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Owners of Garboldisham Post Office and Stores appeal for more support




Only two weeks after the announcement that Hoxne’s post office and tea rooms will shut, another post office and village shop is facing a similar fate – unless villagers show more support.

In a letter written in the parish magazine, the owners of Garboldisham Post Office and Stores have expressed their concern regarding a lack of customers, and asked for suggestions at to how they can improve.

“The reason we have done it is because we’ve been struggling since August and I think people take it for granted that we are always here,” said co-owner Kelly Starling.

Kelly and Robbie Starling are worried about a drop in customers at the village shop. Picture by Mark Bullimore.
Kelly and Robbie Starling are worried about a drop in customers at the village shop. Picture by Mark Bullimore.

“Unfortunately, it’s been tough and not what we were expecting.”

Kelly and her husband, Robbie,took on the shop in 2014 and said they had managed to grow the business year-on-year, which is why the sudden drop in trade came as a shock.

“It is quite scary that we might just have to say ‘you know what, we can’t afford to do this,” said Kelly, 47.

“At the moment, it’s really tough because we can’t afford to buy all the stock we want to buy, which then has a knock-on effect.”

Following their open letter, people have come forward with comments on how the pair could improve.

“Some people have said that we are too expensive and yes, it might be expensive compared to a supermarket, but we can’t afford to buy in bulk like they do,” said Kelly.

“We are fairly priced as a village shop. In fact, we are cheaper than others on some items such as bread, eggs and cheese.”

The couple pride themselves on selling local produce, such as Wooster’s bread and Chandler eggs from Rickinghall.

As part of the festive season, they currently offer locally-made wreaths and Norfolk Christmas trees.

“It’s getting a little bit better, but we are playing catch-up, which is still a problem,” said Kelly.

“It’s a shop we are very proud of and we want to keep it going for as long as we possibly can; the more people that come in, the better.”

The pair are appealing for people to change their shopping habits and use the shop regularly for at least one or two items.

“No-one can come here and do their full shop, that’s never going to happen, but perhaps a little something now and again,” said mum-of-two Kelly.

The couple have taken on requests for certain items and are also looking into setting up an order list for households in the village.

“It’s been quite scary to put it out there that we’ve been struggling,” said Kelly.

“At the same time, I’m asking for criticism. I’m glad we’ve done it, but it’s not been easy.”

Earlier this year, Garboldisham Post Office and Stores was voted as one of the best in Britain by Country Life Magazine.


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