WITH only a few hours to go before tomorrow’s re-opening, workmen have been busy completing the final phase of a £55,000 refurbishment of Holybourne Shop and Post Office.
In the process, the work has revealed some original features of when the building was part of an 18th Century farm.
Owners Jo and Paul Guppy have gone all out to transform their business into a perfect community store selling a wide range of Hampshire produce.
In addition, they are now stocking a range of Cook ready meals and have a coffee and tea machine, and the post office now sports a new counter, with boarding taken down from the windows to let more light into the shop.
As new chiller cabinets were arriving and workmen were putting the finishing touch to the shelving on Monday morning, Jo and Paul said that when they took over the business in 2014, “it was a somewhat shabby shop with lots of Formica and boarding over part of the windows”.
Jo, a former accounts manager from Farnham, and Paul, who ran his own garden design business, knew they had taken on a challenge running a village shop, but it has proved a success.
Now they are able to modernise it and upgrade the stock, and both have said how grateful they were for the grants from Hampshire County Council and the Post Office Community Fund to help them do the work.
The result is a light, airy, spacious shop and part of one wall is now lined with red bricks and what looks like the outline of arches.
“They were uncovered when we started the work,” said Paul.
“We think they are part of a bakery when there was a farm which covered this whole site in the 1700s. Although our shop is Victorian, there is a dividing wall between us and the house next door which dates from the 17th Century.”
In keeping with that tradition, Jo and Paul will now be selling Baker Boy bread and cakes, as well as range of Hampshire produce which includes cheeses, jams, chutneys, beer and ales, and pies.
“We are also members of Hampshire Fare and support many of the producers in this group and on Saturday customers will be able to sample our wide range as we will be having tasting sessions and face painting for the children when we re-open for business at 11am,” said Jo.
Jo and Paul, who have an eight-year-old daughter, have made a going success of their village shop which not only provides local employment but has brought back life into the community.
It is open from 6am to 6pm Monday to Saturday and 7.30am to 1pm on Sunday, with post office services available on weekdays and Saturday mornings.