CUSTOMERS were queueing at the Post Office in Stratford town centre for the reopening of the branch earlier today, Monday.

The branch in Henley Street was closed for a fortnight and Stratford Mayor Cllr Tessa Bates was one of the first customers through the door.

The Mayor, who worked in the Post Office for around 14 years at its former location in Bridge Street and in Henley Street, said of the refurbishment: “It is bright and cheerful, and looks quite inviting.

The Post Office area is defined properly.” Zco Ltd, the new owners of the branch, have called the retail outlet at the front of the branch Gift Box.

Around £250,000 has been invested in refurbishing the branch, and Zco’s national retail manager, Siraz Chadat, said: “It’s been a huge investment. We want to give our customers a shopping experience that they will come back to again and again.”

He said being based in the same street as Shakespeare’s Birthplace was important to the company: “This is exclusivity. We want to be in the best places. It’s all about the space as well, the space here is fantastic, and it’s brightly-lit and welcoming.”

There are seven counter positions at the back of the shop, including six open-plan counters and one secure fortress position.

As well as selling gift items and cards, the shop also sells fresh pre-packed food in the refrigerators at the front of the branch. It will open from 8.30am until 5.30pm Monday to Saturday, and from 10am until 4pm on Sunday — the same opening hours that were operated prior to the refurbishment.

Zoe Hibberd, field change advisor for the Post Office, said: “This is part of a major investment programme, the largest in the history of the Post Office and will secure services for the future.”