Ipswich CBD gets new post office
SHE'S seen a lot in the five years Pauline Williamson has been behind the counter at the Ipswich City Mall Newsagency, but thanks to the fact she is also now the new location for the CBD post office, she's excited about the future.
There was uproar from local business owners when it was announced that the post office in Tower Central was going to close.
But Ms Williamson has worked closely with Australia Post and has renovated her shop in the mall to be able to offer everything a standard post office can do with just one exception.
"When it was clear the post office was closing, they approached me about becoming a community post office, which I agreed to," Ms Williamson said.
"That was just before Christmas, and we were selling stamps, a bit of postage.
"Then the CEO of Australia Post came in to see how we were going, and she asked me if there was anything they could do to help.
"I said this an area where lots of people like to pay their bills in person, and within 24 hours the discussions happened.
"Next thing I was asked if I was keen to become a licensed post office."
The newsagency now has new counters and a full range of postal services, including post office boxes, parcel collection and bill payments.
"I didn't realise how much work was involved," Ms Williamson said.
"I did two months of training, and now I'm training (staff member) Mikala, and when this crisis is over I'll probably look at getting more staff.
"The only thing we don't do is passport photos and applications, Riverlink and Booval still do those."
Ms Williamson is encouraged to see so many new faces in her shop, and hopes that now, finally, things are on the way in her life and business.
"You can't put a number on (the new faces) while this health crisis is ongoing, but definitely we are getting people for the first time." she said.
"We have 96 post office boxes out front too. We gave preferences to businesses that had a post office box already, so they don't have to go the expense and inconvenience of changing all their stationery and so on.
"The newsagency and the post office compliment each other. We've had such a good response to the concept.
"The last few years have been tough. I lost my husband, I was supposedly retired, all the demolition in the mall plus working full time here.
"There were many times I just wanted to walk away, but I thought 'no, I've come this far, just keep going.' It's challenging, but I'm really enjoying it."