A paper shop in Kingussie has announced it is to close, casting doubt over the future of the town’s post office.
The Paper Shop on King Street is to close at the end of this month.
Postmaster Rehman Mahmood has said the decision has not been an easy one, however, business pressures have forced his hand.
‘A tough decision to take’
Mr Mahmood said: “There are a few different reasons, with the main one being staff.
“We just couldn’t get enough staff to run the post office side of the business. The shop was quite heavily reliant on the post office.
“Overall sales were going down and down, especially on the paper side.
“There are other opportunities we wish to pursue also.
“It has been a tough decision to take. It is with a heavy heart we have come to this decision.
“A lot of people use the paper shop and it has been there for a while. Ideally we would have just kept it open, even if we weren’t making any money from it.
“But there is just no feasible way that we can do that.”
January 30 will be the last day of trading for the paper shop, with items already at cut price.
The announcement has shocked Post Office chiefs who are hastily trying to find an alternative provider to ensure continuation of service in the town.
Post Office to advertise vacancy soon
A Post Office spokeswoman said: “The postmaster for Kingussie has very recently advised that the branch is closing at the end of the month.
“We know how important a post office is to a community and we are now considering our options and working hard to ensure that we continue to provide a post office service to this area.
“The vacancy will be advertised soon.”
Alternative branches are currently available in Newtonmore and Aviemore.
An outreach service is also available every Friday from 10am to 12pm in Kincraig Community Hall.
‘Postmaster and shop will be sadly missed’
Kingussie and Vicinity Community Council chairman Ruaridh Ormiston said: “I was shocked to learn of the possible closure of the Kingussie Paper Shop and Post Office as it is such an essential service for so many in the community.
“I hope the Post Office are able to find someone to run the franchise in Kingussie to keep the service going.
“I am also very sad to learn of the departure of the current operators.
“They have given sterling service, not only to the post office side of the business, but also a very effective paper shop that had branched out in to providing so much more too.
“They will be sadly missed.”
MSP left ‘shocked’ and ‘saddened’
Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes added: “Like others, I was shocked and saddened to hear that the Kingussie Paper Shop is soon to close.
“It is a fantastic shop with great staff and will be badly missed.
“With regards to the post office service, I have spoken to senior management at the Royal Mail and I was reassured to hear that they will be doing everything they possibly can to avoid a long-term closure in the town.
“I understand Royal Mail are investigating different options.
“I have asked to be kept updated on the outcome of this review.”