Local Face: Mike and Gillian Chart

  |  Published: May 1st 1994

Mike and Gillian Chart have a long history of serving the public. For many years Mike worked for Martins the Newsagent as an area and shop manager while Gillian's background was initially in clothes and then in more general retail. In the mid 8O's they took the plunge and started to run their own newsagents in Bognor Regis. Four years later they bought a sweet and card shop in Marlow High Street. Three years on they have brought their expertise to Wendover Post Office. This brings Gillian full circle as she used to help her father in his sub-post office twenty-five years ago.

All regular Post Office users have had a chance to comment on the New Era at Wendover Post Office as Post Office Counters Ltd organised a survey during March. The postmen commented on the number of large brown envelopes in the boxes at the time so we are all looking forward to seeing the results when they are published in May. They will be available for public perusal……

The Wendover Business suits this couple very well because Gillian can use all her experience running the card and gift shop while Mike grapples with the complexities of running an efficient sub-post office. Gillian found a delightful little shop when she came to Wendover and has kept on the same local staff to help her run it. She has retained most of the suppliers but also introduced one or two of her own contacts. Her aim is to satisfy the needs of the general post office customer with competitively priced cards, gift-wrap, toys and novelties.

The people of Wendover have always flocked to their Post Office. Initially they had to go to the building which now houses the Pharmacy. Then they moved across the road to the premises of Antiques at Wendover. Many of us still remember picking up parcels from the sorting office there. In the 1980's the Post Office centralised the sorting office to Aylesbury so the counter business was off on its travels again. Fortunately the owners of the Toy Shop at 10 High Street were looking to diversify and so it settled there.

The new Post Office Hall is the most spacious in the Aylesbury area so when an Aylesbury post office worker (postman) was looking for somewhere to store his replica Victorian Post Box, Wendover was happy to oblige. Naturally the customers were very curious about this object and before long it was commissioned into use. There are two modem post boxes outside yet pre-Christmas all three are filled to overflowing. Recently the post box was moved to feature in an exhibition at Berkhamsted. It will then be returned to its maker for refurbishment and eventually it will reappear in its usual place.

The post office is the heart of any village because so many residents use it for licensing cars and televisions, paying bills, buying stamps, sending parcels, and collecting benefits. It is also a very valuable access to National Savings whose various forms can be bought over the counter.

The circumstances of some customers dictate that they collect their pensions first thing on Monday or Thursday morning. This leads to long queues despite opening all three service counters. Another peak time is around the end and beginning of the month when people are buying licences. At other times the service is almost instant.

Business is booming and Mike not only kept on the staff in post but also recently recruited a new face. He is very keen to ensure that staff are fully trained in order to help customers with the great variety of services available.

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