Published: 13/10/2017 12:00 - Updated: 12/10/2017 15:47

Fears over future of Brora PO as host shop is on point of sale

 

Melanie Gullick - hopes post office will remain in shop.
Melanie Gullick - hopes post office will remain in shop.
 

 

A BRORA shopkeeper, who also runs the village’s post office, has confirmed the grocery business is on the point of sale.

But Melanie Gullick, owner and operator of Bridgend Premier Store, has reassured local people that the post office, sited in the premises, will continue to operate while the sale goes through – albeit on restricted hours.

And she said the businessman interested in taking Bridgend over would also want to retain the post office counter.

However she warned that if the deal does not work out, then the future of the service would be in doubt.

Mrs Gullick, who is originally from Kent, and her husband Aaron, took over the convenience store, located beside Brora Bridge, around seven years ago. They both have extensive retail experience, having previously worked for Sainsbury.

Trade was initially good but slowly declined following the opening of the Asda superstore in Tain and the introduction by it and Tesco of online ordering and home deliveries.

She said: "It is just unfortunate. We took on the post office hoping it would help with footfall and also to ensure the village retained the services."

But a combination of the downturn and personal circumstances led the Gullicks to put Bridgend on the market before Christmas. The couple, who have three children, have since separated.

She said: "We have received a written offer but if for whatever reason it does not go through, then we are back where we started.

Mrs Gullick intends to discuss staffing with the buyer, who comes from the south and has several other businesses, and is hopeful all employees will be kept on.

In the meantime she is not renewing the stock in the shop and is no longer selling newspapers.

She was due to attend a meeting of Brora and District Action Group (BaDAG) on Wednesday and talk to members about the situation, having become aware of speculation in the village.

Bridgend Stores was previously open from 6am to 10pm but is now open from 8.30am to 4.30pm on Mondays and from 12.30pm until 4.30pm Tuesday to Friday. The post office service is available during these hours. Both the shop and post office will be closed at weekends.

The Post Office began franchising out its counter service in a bid to save money some years ago, shutting down dedicated post office premises and embedding the service in local shops.

Brora’s post office formerly operated out of dedicated premises on Rosslyn Street, opposite Harry Gow Bakery.

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