Ridgewood Post Office is on the market as owners Jon and Sue Gothard prepare for retirement.
The couple have lived and worked there for 33 years, bringing up two boys in the process, so making plans for change has been difficult.
But now they have a nine-month-old granddaughter, and a daily commitment cooking for Jon’s 93-year-old mother, so they would like to spend more time helping their family.
They loved the Post Office, in Lewes Road, when they first saw it, even though it was in a bad way with the business failing. “We knew it was the right place for us,” they said.
The couple were advised not to take it on but have never regretted doing so. Their reward is seeing it thriving now with potential to grow even more.
Jon said: “There is no doubt there is a need for the Post Office and stores here and the potential for growth is good, especially with 1,000 new homes being built across the road.”
They have carried out major refurbishment of the premises every ten years – the last time was five years ago – and right from the start committed to stocking what their customers needed.
Jon said: “When we first moved in we chose to stock the basics and then buy the rest as people asked for specific things. We have continued to do that ever since.”
Their whole family has been involved in the business with parents loaning money to help them get on their feet and Sue’s mother working in the shop without pay. Their boys have worked there too.
In the past 33 years the couple have both held other jobs outside the Post Office to help pay the bills, but in recent years they haven’t had to do that. They say the business is now sustainable.
Ridgewood has grown hugely during their time in the village with new estates being built including New Barn, Sand Ridge, Harlands Farm, Fernley Park, Castle Rise.
The couple also run out-reach post offices in Danehill, Chelwood Gate, Nutley, Isfield, and High Hurstwood.
Sue said they had never regretted getting out of the rat race to run the shop. They have enjoyed the last 33 years but now they are looking forward to giving up the responsibility.
They enjoy being part of the community and say that sometimes people come in who might not see another person all day.
They are pleased to deliver orders free of charge for older people who can’t get out, and they like to support local suppliers.
Jon was chair of the village hall for ten years, and during the same period Sue was secretary. He said: “We kept it going during that time but now that Karen Bedwell has taken over it is very vibrant. She works her socks off there.”
The couple appreciate the support they get from the community. Comments about them, their achievements and what they have done in the community have made them very proud.
• Ridgewood Post Office and Stores is being marketed by Lawson Commercial.
Partner Chris Lawson said: “The property is really a mini-convenience store with the benefit of a post office outlet.
“It is in an unrivalled position, already in a good residential area, it is going to be the closest shop to the new Ridgewood Farm residential development where 1,000 new houses are due to be constructed.
“Wimpey are already building the first 250 homes and there will be direct access from that development to Lewes Road close to these premises.
Mr Lawson said there had reputedly been a post office and general store on the site former than 100 years.
Full information about turnover, and accounts, are available for seriously interested parties.
In addition to the post office the store includes a Lottery outlet, off-licence, agency for Pipers News, coffee machine, photocopying facility and wide variety of locally-sourced goods such as bread, pies, fruit and vegetables.
Mr Lawson added: “This is a really first class business opportunity for an owner occupier with a family. The price is £480,000 for the freehold, to include the business with stock at valuation.”
Lawson Commercial can be contacted on 01825 764488 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.