Post Offices are epic for indie retailers

Mail On Sunday shares high praise from Stationery Supplies’ Sarah Laker

 

Independent retailer Sarah Laker is back in the news again, singing the praises of her local post office for coming to the banking rescue of small businesses.

With the Post Office’s recent research revealing 43% of small firms saying they wouldn’t be able to function without one being nearby, Sarah was among a number of business owners who appeared in the Mail On Sunday at the weekend, July 24, where she explained there are no other providers of basic banking services in Marple, where she runs one of her two Stationery Supplies stores.

Above: Epic pic – Sarah sent this photo to the Mail On Sunday
Above: Epic pic – Sarah sent this photo to the Mail On Sunday

Retas’ winner Sarah told PG Buzz: “How epic to have my views on how vital post offices are featured in the Mail On Sunday – they even chose my epic photo to use for the story, it’s a great shot of my award-winning card selection!”

The photo was taken in Sarah’s Wilmslow shop and she revealed: “I’m holding a design by Earlybird Designs, with Two Little Monkeys and Ginger Betty cards in the background.”

Since 2015 more than 5,000 bank branches have closed – or are soon to shut – meaning business owners are now turning to local post offices to pay in takings, withdraw cash, get change and carry out their business banking.

Above: Everyday and business banking at the Post Office
Above: Everyday and business banking at the Post Office

There are 1,300 villages and towns across the UK where the post office is the only banking offer, and more than £3billion in cash is deposited and withdrawn each month at POs around the country, with more than £1bn paid in by business customers.

“The banks closing means there are fewer people coming into town to do their banking and shopping,” NatWest customer Sarah told the paper, “and it does make it harder to run a business.”

Above: Stationery Supplies in Marple
Above: Stationery Supplies in Marple

She explained that to visit a NatWest branch she would have to close the shop, or pay one of her staff to cover her while she makes the “not practical” hour-long round trip into Stockport.

Instead, she added: “We rely heavily on the local post office just round the corner. I pay in all my cash takings – which represent about 25% of all sales – and I can get change when needed.”

Cash gets credited to her business account immediately which is great for cashflow and she uses the postal service at least twice a week to dispatch greeting cards, gifts and stationery products ordered through her website.

Above: The Post Office is filling in where banks have moved out
Above: The Post Office is filling in where banks have moved out

Martin Kearsley, banking director at the Post Office, told the MoS: “This vital role that postmasters play in their local community is becoming more important as bank branches continue to close – where cash is withdrawn, it tends to be spent locally with small businesses. That’s good for business and great for local communities.’

Martin McTague, national chairman of the Federation Of Small Businesses (FSB), added: ‘The more our post offices are expected to take on, the more they’re going to need resources and support to meet increased customer demand. The banks have shown a willingness to back post offices – that must continue.”

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