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Lochgilphead’s business community has welcomed news that the town is once again to have its own post office.
Plans are well underway for the service to open on the town’s Union Street this autumn after Lochgilphead couple Anna and Marcin Dudziak bought over the old TSB building and decided that what the town needed most was a post office.
For almost two years Lochgilphead has had no post office after the sudden passing in June 2020 of Lochgilphead postmaster Findlay Campbell shocked and saddened the community.
The town was left with no post office, but as a temporary measure, Tarbert Post Office has visited Inveraray and Lochgilphead with a mobile service, as well as providing outreach for Ardrishaig.
Anna currently works for the Royal Mail delivering post in Tarbert and it was her interactions on doorsteps that prompted her to make the move into running a post office herself.
The 39-year-old told The Argyllshire Advertiser: ‘I really like my job and meet a lot of people, and so many of them have told me they are concerned about Lochgilphead not having a post office.
‘When I bought the TSB building I had thought of running a shop in the premises, but all the feedback I was getting locally made me realise that there was one thing that Lochgilphead needed more than anything.’
Anna began the process of applying to Post Office Ltd to open a new branch in the town, providing the company with a detailed business plan and undergoing a series of checks.
She added: ‘The negotiations are going well and I’ve been told there should be no problems with my application. I have two great girls who will be working in the post office and are going through training just now.’
Anna’s husband Marcin works as a building contractor so has the right skills to convert the building for its new purpose, but he’s not the only family member mucking in.
Anna said: ‘We have three boys and they’re all very excited about the new business, but the wee one, who is three, is particularly delighted and is doing all he can to help – in his own way.’
Mid Argyll Chamber of Commerce secretary Jane MacLeod is also delighted with Anna’s business plans.
She said: ‘I confirm it is very good news for Mid Argyll that the post office is opening up again. It will be very convenient for businesses and residents alike to have a town centre presence.
‘Many of our businesses use the post office for banking purposes as well as postage and, of course, we all appreciate the services provided by a permanent, full time post office in our community.
‘At a time when so many bank branches are closing and, indeed, shops are empty it is heartening to know that our town centre is becoming increasingly vibrant and will have such an important facility at its heart.’
Jane’s comments were echoed by business owner Wilma Meikle whose Archway Gallery is adjacent to the site of the new post office.
Wilma said: ‘We are excited to hear that it’s going to be a post office next door to the Archway.
‘The woman opening it came in last week to let us know that was her plan, though she stressed it was a longish process and it may be a while yet.
‘While the ”roving” post office has mostly been fine, it will be great for older people in particular to have a full time place again. A post office always has a social aspect which has been missed.’
Anna plans to create an additional retail offering within the building and is keen to hear from people what they would like to see in the store.
She said: ‘It’s important that we offer what people want and I’d love to know what sort of shop locals would like to go alongside the post office. Anyone with ideas would be very welcome to put a note through the door.’