THE owners of Crewkerne Post Office have transformed the retail space of another branch based in a Grade II listed building.

Beaminster Post Office has undergone a major transformation in the past 12 months since Steve and Teresa Smith took over at 18 Hogshill Street, Beaminster, DT8 3AA.

A major project to transform Beaminster Post Office inside a Grade II listed building has successfully trebled the retail space of the shop, which will benefit the community.

Steve and Teresa could see huge potential to greatly expand the retail area.

They carefully negotiated planning permission and consent from English Heritage to adapt the building to greatly improve the layout by removing an internal staircase and unused suspended ceiling.

They also own Crewkerne Post Office at the Dailyztech store.

At Beaminster there is now a wide variety of IT gadgets and equipment and mobile phone accessories.

Beaminster Town Council Chairman Cllr Craig Monks “cut the ribbon” to unveil the completely new-look shop, which he helped the owners get permission for the changes.

Chard & Ilminster News:

Alterations to the building were done behind the hoarding.

The whole shop only closed from Wednesday (15/11) to complete the refit and new layout, new lighting, flooring, counters, and display stands.

The shop is now fully opened and stocked for Christmas.

The range of cards and stationery has greatly increased, including a range of cards and artwork by local artists. There is a dedicated area where people can browse.

Crucially there is also more space for storage of incoming and outgoing parcels for Post Office customers.

This is important with the growing amount of parcels being sent, home shopping returns and click and collect parcels for those who want their parcels safely stored at their nearby Post Office as busy people are not always at home.

Owners Steve and Teresa Smith 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 Post Office 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.

“I want to say a big thank you to Cllr Craig Monks and to our landlord, Jonathan Stokes, who have been so knowledgeable and supportive in helping us to get the permission for the changes allowing us to have plenty of space for retail alongside our Post Office.”

Stage one of modernising Beaminster Post Office involved removing old-style full-screened Post Office counter and replacing them with two new modern Post Office counters and signage with new lighting to make it light, bright, and airy.

Space was cramped until phase 2 was completed. Now the store has been transformed, but it retains its traditional charm.

Customer flow through the shop has improved with the new layout as there is greater space for customers and retail.

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 have been installed internally to blend the two shop levels. Early next year work will be done to provide level access to the shop.