If you regularly shop in Ilkeston, you may well recognise Sukhjit Thandi.
Mr Thandi has run News Express, on South Street, with his wife Sandeep for five years. The newsagent is now home to Ilkeston’s new and improved Post Office, which was formerly based 150 metres away at the Co-op, which closed in June last year.
Mr Thandi, 40, who also has businesses in Derby, said: “The Post Office came to me asking if they could relocate to us because the Co-op was closing. I thought it was a good idea and would help the community.”
Mr Thandi, a father-of-one, opened his first business at the age of 20 and also has two newsagents in Derby. When the opportunity arose to set up shop in Ilkeston he grabbed it, and has grown fond of the town which he describes as ‘a nice place with friendly people’. He now employs five staff and is currently recruiting for one more since the Post Office opened last Tuesday.
Asked what he thought about Ilkeston town centre as it is today, he said: “Ilkeston needs new business because with the Co-op closing it has had an effect on shops in the area. Hopefully having the Post Office here will help with that. When it closed people were trying to get it back, so it can only be a good thing that it has moved here.
“The further you go into town there are lots of shops that have closed down. If some of the bigger names came in it would pull people in as some of them - like McDonald’s which moved out of the town centre - have gone. If we had bigger names it would bring smaller names in.”
Outside of work Mr Thandi enjoys football, cricket and other sports.
The new Post Office offers the same services previously available to customers at the Co-op, including new driving licences and photo cards.
It has four serving positions, a mixture of two new-style open-plan counters, one secure fortress position and a ‘combi-counter’, where the Post Office terminal will sit alongside the retail till. It is open 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday, with selected Post Office products and services available from the retail counter during shop opening hours, which are 6am to 8pm Monday to Saturday and 6am to noon on Sunday.