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Open all hours: Couple reversing the village shop trend

PUBLISHED: 09:02 26 March 2019

The new owners of Peasenhall Post Office, Karl Russell and Ellie Baldry, who are preparing to re-launch the village stores.
Picture: DAVID VINCENT

The new owners of Peasenhall Post Office, Karl Russell and Ellie Baldry, who are preparing to re-launch the village stores. Picture: DAVID VINCENT

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Many village shops and post offices have been lost as shopping habits have changed - but in Peasenhall one couple is aiming to reverse the trend.

Peasenhall post office and village stores. New owners Karl Russell and Ellie Baldry, with business mentor Samantha Annison who is helping them re-launch the business.
Picture: DAVID VINCENTPeasenhall post office and village stores. New owners Karl Russell and Ellie Baldry, with business mentor Samantha Annison who is helping them re-launch the business. Picture: DAVID VINCENT

Ellie Baldry and Karl Russell have taken on the village post office store and have big plans to make a success of it.

They are living above the shop, with daughter Eedee, and are busy decorating and introducing new products and ranges ahead of a re-launch in April.

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Ms Baldry, who worked in the shop for the previous owners, said: “The village post office is an important part of the community.

A historic postcard view of Peasenhall main streetA historic postcard view of Peasenhall main street

“They have been closing down, and the banks have been closing too in the towns. I think there is only one now in Framlingham and one in Saxmundham, and Halesworth hasn’t go any.

“Post offices are important for pensioners and for other businesses too because they offer local banking services.

“We are getting pensioners come in from quite a wide area to collect their pensions.”

Partner Karl Russell, who also runs his own tree surgery and landscaping business said: “There is a campaign for ‘shop local’ and supporting more small businesses. We are all working together here in Peasenhall, We are a close knit community.

“We want it to be a traditional village shop, offering something for everybody and using and supporting a lot of local suppliers.”

They are getting advice and mentoring from Samantha Annison, of Eclipse Retail Services, who is passing on expertise gained while running Fressingfield stores for 20 years.

“I am very keen to see them succeed,” she said.

Ms Baldry grew up in the village, and worked behind the counter for the previous owners for eight years. “I am used to working in the shop,” she said. “But taking it on is a big step – quite scary. We believe there is a future for it. It is exciting.

“We are making changes and introducing local suppliers, Clarke’s butchers, Pinneys of Orford, Wendy’s House cakes and the eggs come from Heveningham.”

Mr Russell added: “We are proud of what we are doing here. It is nice doing it together. We are getting a lot of support from the local people.”

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