Whitestone Post expands to Central Otago

Whitestone Post Central Otago operator Diane Williamson posts a letter at the official opening of the Alexandra franchise. Photo: Jono Edwards
Whitestone Post Central Otago operator Diane Williamson posts a letter at the official opening of the Alexandra franchise. Photo: Jono Edwards
What type of business is expanding throughout the country? A postal service.

The Alexandra branch of Whitestone Post officially opened at the weekend, although it has operated for six weeks.

It is the first franchise of the fast-post service outside its original location in Oamaru.

Whitestone Post Central Otago operator Diane Williamson said she understood the seasonal nature of many businesses in Central Otago and just wanted to sell them what they needed.

''It's all about the local aspect of it. Say if you send something with New Zealand Post and the Lindis Pass closes, your mail will get stranded.''

She does all the sorting and delivering now, but more staff will be hired as the franchise expands.

It has started with Alexandra and Clyde and plans to expand into Cromwell within three weeks, and then to the rest of Central Otago.

It is a local postal service that operates only within Central Otago and guarantees 24-hour delivery.

Whitestone Post was founded in 2014 when the managers of Oamaru's Whitestone Taxis, Murray and Liz Bell, sought to utilise their fleet in the downtime.

Mr Bell said it became clear it could be a stand-alone business, so they decided to expand.

It was originally targeted at businesses but they were surprised with the uptake from individuals.

''If you send a bereavement card, you want it to get there before the funeral.''

The company's deliveries increased every year.

Managing director Stephen Beeby said the Central Otago franchise already had some ''big customers'' on board.

Next weekend, Whitestone Post would officially open its Palmerston North franchise, but it mainly wanted to spread throughout the South Island. The company had its eyes on Dunedin, Ashburton and Timaru.

It charged 90c for one of its stamps, compared with New Zealand Post's $1.

Customers can buy stamps from the Central Otago base in Brandon St, Alexandra, which is also where its postbox is located. The company also collects mail as part of its service.

jono.edwards@odt.co.nz

 

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