A newsagents is taking on Royal Mail with a postal service which guarantees next day delivery by hand – for HALF the price of a first class stamp.
Lorraine Lettley, 62, and daughter Trish, 37, set up the Welly Post after customers complained about the rising cost of sending letters.
The team is now delivering a mammoth 250 items a day – an impressive 4,000 letters and packages since they launched the venture two weeks ago.
Shoppers drop off post at the family shop in Wellington, Somerset, where the Lettleys guarantee next day delivery within two-and-a-half miles for just 30p.
And for just 10p extra the loyal duo will collect letters from customers’ homes – crushing the 60p price tag for a first class stamp.
Husband Richard, 66, delivers to half the town on his bike, cycling for up to two hours away day to ensure customers cards arrive on time.
Daughter Trish drives to outlying villages where she parks up to hand-deliver post.
Lorraine, co-owner of E J Teare Newsagents, said: “My daughter thought up the idea because we thought we do deliveries from the shop already – why not offer even more of a service to our customers.
“We had heard people mentioning about the cost of the Royal Mail and we felt it was something that we could possibly help out with.
“My husband recently retired and we were looking for something to keep him busy on his bike so this seemed perfect.
“We are thrilled by how it has taken off. People are really grateful for the extra help – and love that it costs less.
“People are so enthusiastic and it is bringing people out of their shells a bit too as it has become a bit of a talking point.
“The reaction has been nothing but positive and we are finding that people are really eager to be loyal to a local independent business.”
Lorraine, who worked in the shop for 18 years before she took it over seven years ago, said she plans to run the service all year round – and even offers business rates.
The service is currently turning over more than #75 per day and has more than covered the start-up costs of printing flyers, she added.
Lorraine added: “We did it partly to get footfall in the shop but also to offer a service for customers.
“Times are hard for everyone and it is going reasonably well financially for us too – we covered our start-up costs in a matter of days.”
Lorraine says even the posties don’t mind the extra help.
“Well, they’ve still been coming in and buying their cigarettes and things so I think we are ok,” she added.
“I don’t think we are going to be running the Royal Mail out of business anytime soon.”
Mum-of-four Julie Watkin, 55, used the service to deliver a dozen Christmas cards last week.
She said: “It is really great. You know that it is going to get there – and you know who is going to deliver it – and you can’t beat the price.
“It feels good to support the local community and be part of something too.”