Drayton Post Office has been saved and is open for business.
But new postmaster Neal Gurney is concerned that some villagers aren’t aware of its new location, especially as it’s currently hidden by vehicles belonging to builders working on the new Domino’s pizza outlet which is due to open in the Post Office’s former site.
The village Post Office had been inside Drayton Stores, on Fakenham Road, for many years but when owners John Gallant and Mark Curson decided to retire, its future looked under threat.
But the pair, backed by Drayton Parish Council, were keen to keep a Post Office as a community service and approached Neal, 33, who already ran four other Post Offices in Norfolk.
He recognised the potential of the business and now, while the front of the old Drayton Stores building is being taken over by Domino’s, a partition has been built and the Post Office has moved into the back, with its own entrance at the side.
It is a main Post Office, open from 9am-5.30pm, Monday to Saturday, offering all services, including foreign currency and passport checking, and customers with most high street banks can deposit and withdraw cash and cheques there.
The hole-in-the-wall machine has moved round the corner with the Post Office which also sells greetings cards, gifts and some sweets.
Back in 2005 Neal, then aged 20, became one of the youngest postmasters in the country when he took over Thorpe St Andrew Post Office after his father went into semi-retirement.
In 2014 he took on Acle Post Office as well and, since then, he has also acquired Post Offices in Harleston and Framingham Earl.
Despite fierce competition in the mail and parcels business nowadays, Neal said it was still possible for Post Offices to thrive.
“They can sustain themselves providing we can make people aware we’re still here and we’re still doing things people find useful,” he said.
The Domino’s workforce is due to finish any day and Neal hopes their departure will make the Post Office more visible, and open up its car park.
The six staff who had worked at the old Post Office are all employed at the new business which is also the hub for 14 postmen and women who deliver mail to more than 5,000 local homes.
It’s been a very busy summer and autumn for Neal who took over at Drayton in August and became the proud dad of baby daughter Darcie on September 8. He and his wife Charlotte, who does the accounts, already have a two-year-old son, Dylan.
Pictured: Neal Gurney with assistant manager Nicky Day.