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Welly Post proves a local hit
A family newsagent's own postal service guaranteeing next day delivery on letters but at half the price of a first class stamp has proved a Christmas hit with customers.
Lorraine Lettley, 62, and her daughter Trish, 37, set up the Welly Post this month after customers complained about the rising cost of sending letters.
Within a fortnight of launching the service the Lettleys, who own E J Teare Newsagents in Wellington, Somerset, have personally delivered 4,000 letters within a two mile radius.
And it's no surprise the scheme has been snapped up by villagers as sending 12 standard Christmas cards by post costs only £3.60 - opposed to the £7.20 charged by the Royal Mail.
Trish said: "Last year we noticed we had sold fewer Christmas cards than usual and after speaking with customers we found that the reason was because of the cost of stamps.
"The past few years have also been a very tough time for newsagents across Britain and we were looking at ways to increase footfall.
"We thought, we do deliveries from the shop anyway - so why not offer even more of a service to our customers?
'We had heard people mentioning about the cost of the Royal Mail's stamps and we knew we could do something to help."
The scheme works by shoppers dropping off post at the family shop, where the Lettleys guarantee next day delivery within two and a half miles for just 30p.
For 10p extra, the family collects letters from customers' homes too.
Dad Richard, 66, delivers to half the town on his bike, cycling for up to two hours a day to ensure cards arrive on time, w hile daughter Trish drives to outlying villages, and mum Lorraine covers the centre of town.
"On the first day we sold 12 stamps, which we were really pleased with," added Trish.
"But after we placed an ad in the local paper the Wellington Weekly News about The Welly Post it just went crazy.
"We're now sending about 250 cards a day.
"The reaction has been really positive and it has brought the whole community together and become a real talking point."
The service is currently turning over more than £75 per day. The profits are enough to print promotional flyers - with a little bit of money left over.
Trish added: "We did it partly to get footfall in the shop but also to offer a service for customers.
"We're not going to become millionaires off this or run the Royal Mail out business.
"But it's great how well the scheme is going and how it has brought everyone together.
"It would be great if our scheme could inspire other newsagents up and down the country to do a similar thing.
She joked: "It's also been great because since dad retired it's kept him occupied and got him a bit of exercise too."