Newsagents turning to local post deliveries to make ends meet
Faced with competition from supermarkets and falling newspaper sales, British newsagents are delivering the post to replenish their income.
Brian Webb, who operates a newspaper delivery service in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, said his “Webb’s Postal Service” was delivering 1,000 letters a day for a cut-price 30p – less than half the price of first-class mail.
“I’m never going to hurt the Post Office but it has gone so well that it has blown us away,” said Webb, 69, who set up the service in March.
His letters carry a “Webb’s Postal Service” stamp and are delivered around Wisbech and 22 neighbouring villages by a fleet of 12 vans. All senders of mail must be existing newspaper or magazine-buying customers of his Webb’s of Leverington newsagent and all deliveries must be in the local neighbourhood.
Major customers include local doctor’s surgeries, schools and estate agents.
The pioneer of newsagent postal services was The Welly Post, which was set up by a family newsagent in Somerset last December as a means of delivering Christmas cards more cheaply.
It was so popular that it has continued as a daily local postal service and distributes 50 letters a day within a two and a half mile radius of the shop.
The 30p Welly Post stamps carry the symbol of the obelisk-shaped Wellington Monument, erected after the Battle of Waterloo to celebrate the achievements of the general Duke who took his title from the town.
Trish Lettley, 38, thought up the Welly Post when customers told her that that the cost of posting Christmas cards was prohibitive. The guaranteed next-day deliveries were an instant hit and the Post delivered up to 300 cards a day during the festive period.
Clients now include local vets and garages, sending out reminders for vaccinations or MOTs. Although the business, EJ Teare newsagent, uses paper boys and girls for its 24 daily rounds, postal deliveries are done by adults. “It’s a bit more responsibility for the post,” says Ms Lettley. Many of the letters are transported by her father, Richard, a former milkman, on his bicycle.
Mr Webb said he had consulted the communications watchdog Ofcom before offering the service. An Ofcom spokesperson said that postal operators were required to abide by the Mail Integrity Code of Practice but were not obliged to register with the regulator unless they intended to deliver in excess of 2.5m items per quarter.
- 1 Autistic adults could take pure MDMA to 'reduce social anxiety'
- 2 Before you complain about your GP, this is what you need to know about actually doing the job
- 3 Father of 12 accused of raping, beating, starving and abusing his own children in US 'cult'
- 4 Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: not a Mexican demon being summoned — it's gravity
People are criticising Fifa World Cup sponsors with corrupt corporate logos
Natalie Portman tells Harvard graduates: 'Accept your lack of knowledge'
British tourists complain impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Fifa corruption live: Sebb Blatter warns 'more bad news may follow' as he clings to power
Skull found in Spain could be the world's first-ever murder victim
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote
iJobs Money & Business
£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst to join a leading e-...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £45K YR1: SThree: At SThree, we like to be dif...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Did you know? SThree is a mul...
£55 - 65k (DOE): Guru Careers: A unique opportunity for a permanent C# Develop...