Shop Local: Letterbox gift shop and post office welcomes back customers

Gill, who works at Letterbox in Welwyn, and who is not wearing a mask as there are no customers. Pic

Gill, who works at Letterbox in Welwyn, and who is not wearing a mask as there are no customers. Picture: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Shops in Welwyn are reopened this week as lockdown is lifted, and independent businesses are preparing to help residents shop locally and safely this Christmas.

Wellington Inn in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC

Wellington Inn in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

Independent businesses in the village include gift shop Box of Delights, Welwyn Luxury Beauty, Katie’s Bakery, Laura Kate cake shop, the Wellington Inn, Welwyn Florist and Letterbox gift shop and post office.

Gill Hughes has been running Letterbox for 18 months, having previously worked in HR, and has spent half of that time either in full or partial lockdown. This is the first time she has run her own gift shop and the first time she has been a village postmistress.

Takeway at Wellington Inn in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC

Takeway at Wellington Inn in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

As she runs the post office, Gill is able to open her gift shop whenever the post office is open, which is 9am to 3pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays and 9am to midday on Wednesday and Saturday.

After taking over the shop, Gill spent two full days training to be a postmistress and then had a trainer supervising her for her first week.

The Wellington Inn in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC

The Wellington Inn in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant


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When asked about how she has been finding lockdown, Gill said: “Because of the post office it’s been OK really, it’s difficult to say.

“Maybe in April it was quieter, but generally because people need the post office to pay their gas and electricity bills, or to post letters and parcels, we’ve been doing OK.”

Welwyn Village Heritage Trail. Picture: WHBC

Welwyn Village Heritage Trail. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

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Gill enjoys sourcing gifts for the shop from suppliers such as East of India, and said there has been no real difference in what people are buying in the gift shop under partial restrictions, with greetings cards, candles and stationery always proving popular.

Speaking before shops reopened, Gill said: “The printed Welwyn village Christmas cards are very popular which help to promote the village and encourage people to visit. I also sell bespoke Welwyn cushions which make the perfect gift for residents and visitors to the village.

Welwyn Florist is offering deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: WHBC

Welwyn Florist is offering deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

“We really look forward to welcoming back customers across all the shops, businesses and restaurants when we open again. Come and look at the beautiful church, discover the heritage trail, have some food and have a wander around our shops. We look forward to welcoming you soon!”

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council is supporting the WHT’s Shop Local campaign – encouraging people to do their Christmas shopping at independent businesses.

Letterbox in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC

Letterbox in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

Lunch at Laura Kate in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC

Lunch at Laura Kate in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

Katie's Bakery in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC

Katie's Bakery in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Luxury Beauty. Picture: WHBC

Welwyn Luxury Beauty. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Luxury Beauty at Ivy Cottage, Welwyn. Picture: WHBC

Welwyn Luxury Beauty at Ivy Cottage, Welwyn. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Florist. Picture: WHBC

Welwyn Florist. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

Laura Kate cakes in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC

Laura Kate cakes in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

Box of Delights in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC

Box of Delights in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

Letterbox in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC

Letterbox in Welwyn. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

Katie's Bakery in Welwyn. Picture:WHBC

Katie's Bakery in Welwyn. Picture:WHBC - Credit: Archant

Welwyn residents are urged to shop locally and safely during the pandemic. Picture: WHBC

Welwyn residents are urged to shop locally and safely during the pandemic. Picture: WHBC - Credit: Archant

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