Old post office is transformed into craft shop

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Greenlaw couple Catherine and Mark Bauer have carried out a speedy post-Christmas transformation of Melrose’s former post office building into a craft shop.

The building, home to the town’s postal services for more than 30 years, now offers something completely different to stamps and envelopes courtesy of Natural Crafts and Gifts, owned by Catherine and Mark Bauer.

The shop’s new look is proving something of a tourist attraction in the town, with many residents popping in not just to try to post a letter but to see what has been done with the old institution.

“People are really keen to see what has become of the old post office, so we seem to be a bit of a tourist attraction too,” Catherine said.

“Melrose was the right place and the right time.

“We were looking to expand the retail side of the business and looking for a place where people could come and craft. Now we’ve got the space for people to come and buy what they need, then start or finish their own craft products.”

The 41-year-old former nurse set up her own candle making business, Borders Aromatics, eight years ago.

The mum of three then began Natural Crafts which opened its first shop in the former doctors’ surgery in Lauder’s Edinburgh Road in 2015, before expanding further to include four members of full and part-time staff, some of whom supply goods including metal work, and kids craft goods to the business.

The Melrose space opened in November, three weeks after the post office made the move up town to the Mason’s of Melrose book store.

And while the building has been completely renovated, its distinctive yellow door remains inside, as does the old main door and the post office counter, which now serves as a tea station for anyone taking part in crafty lessons in the small workshop.

Catherine’s husband, Mark, 45, who led the renovation, added: “After a rapid but extensive renovation to make a spectacular destination for Melrose, the building has been revitalised.

“Many people popped their heads in during the building works expressing how much they love the building as one of the older important buildings in the town and wished it to become something renewed again.”

And while there have been a few customers still bringing parcels and packages for posting, the response to the new shop has been positive.

Former hairdresser Lynn Gray, from Duns, who works full time for the company, said: “It’s amazing how many people are that way inclined in this area. We had no idea until we opened in Melrose.

“We’re aiming to stock even more local craft goods and equipment and are very aware that people and tourists want locally sourced products. We’re trying to keep everything natural-based too.”

Florist Lynsay Forster, from Lilliesleaf, added: “Melrose people have been really supportive, as have fellow traders. People have been excited about the crafters we have coming in.”