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Community & Business

5 January, 2023

Posties celebrate

As of last Friday, February 18, Karen and Stuart Border have owned the Gilgandra Post Office for 20 years.

By Emily Middleton

Though the day was low-key, the couple said they received copious amount of support from everyone in the town.

“Our Facebook page went off!” said Mrs Border.

“We got so much support from our customers. Everything comes down to them, we are so thankful for their support and business,” said Mr Border.

Their celebrations also included an in-store competition.

Mrs Border has reflected fondly on her time running the post office.

“It doesn’t seem like 20 years. We were talking about it a little while ago, and we said that sometimes it doesn’t feel like 20 years, but sometimes it does!

“Stuart and I have been here for two decades, we think about 17 years for Jen [Coxsedge], she’s been around for a long time, and Brady [Meyers] has been here for close to 13 years. We have a small staff, but they stay for the duration pretty much.”

Mr and Mrs Border originally bought the post office from the two previous owners who were Australia Post employees. Since then, the business has only expanded and adapted to the times.

“Back then, post offices were licensed, and the previous owners bought the licence. They had been working here for a long time for Australia Post,” said Mrs Border.

“We bought it off them, so we were only the second ones to take over the licensee job. It was a bit mind blowing, we didn’t know if we were going to stay or go! Because you’ve got the rural runs as well as the local runs.”

The post office now also offers services outside of what you’d think to find in your typical post office. As well as passport processing, the team also offer banking services, heavy work ticket renewal, safe work license, international money transfers, and so much more. Over time, Australia Post added these options on, as a way to expand the market.

“Australia Post has been a very good business partner in that way, because as letters have diminished, they ultimately look in different areas that we can grow in,” said Mr Border.

A six-to-eight-year period after the Border’s started at the post office, there was a hint that post offices might become similar to newsagents.

“They would become obsolete, that they weren’t as important, and newspapers were sold in supermarkets, and online content and everything was expanding,” said Mr Border.

“So like what Caitlynn’s [King] done down here at the newsagency, she’s thought outside the box and added things to her business so it’s a healthy newsagency, with other stuff. And that’s really what Australia Post did, when they said they created a new business at our counter.

“Post offices are still here to stay. It’ll remain like it is now until the foreseeable future and they find another thing they can sell.”

Over the decades, as to be imagined, a lot has changed. The way society communicates has changed, and the way society shops has also changed, turning to online convenience.

“We used to have lots and lots and lots more letters, and many, many less parcels. Now its lots and lots of parcels,” said Mrs Border.

“I think some days they’re overwhelmed with parcels.

“We needed a lot of help when we first started, to know where everyone was, who they all were, who was in what box. I can remember standing there to sort the boxes one day, I was looking trying to match the names. Now it’s, oh they’re there, and they’re here. Comes down a lot to memory.”

Mrs Border remembers fondly the days of when parcels wouldn’t take more then a day to travel places.

“I have a friend who lives in Parkes, and I used to be able to put a parcel in the afternoon for her, and she’d get it the next day. Without fail. I used to think that was pretty good 20 years ago,” said Mrs Border.

“That doesn’t happen now. The parcels have to go to Sydney to get sorted, and distributed that way. They took a lot of staff out of the towns and closed down some of the regional centres where sorting used to be done.

“People used to ask how long will this take, and we could say – it’ll be in Sydney by this date. But now we just go well.. it’ll leave here on the truck by five o’clock this afternoon. And that’s all we know.”

The Border’s are hoping to sell the post office to a young local couple, who are also passionate about the town.

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