Post office suits beauty salon

The former Mornington Post Office. PHOTOS: SHAWN MCAVINUE
The former Mornington Post Office. PHOTOS: SHAWN MCAVINUE
In a series, The Star reporters 
are interviewing owners of Dunedin buildings which were built for one purpose but now serve another. This week, Shawn McAvinue talks to Skin & Beaute owner Sally Choie about the former Mornington Post Office building she bought to run her beauty salon.

Beauty salon owner Sally Choie was giving birth when she was offered a chance to buy a historic Mornington building.

She was friends with the the owners of Allied Security, who owned and ran their company from the former Mornington Post Office building on the corners of Mailer and Brunel Sts.

Mrs Choie had been searching for a building to open a beauty clinic and had told her friend if she ever wanted to sell to please let her know.

But "it was a joke — a very serious joke," Mrs Choie said.

Skin & Beaute owner Sally Choie has no regrets buying a former Mornington Post Office building to...
Skin & Beaute owner Sally Choie has no regrets buying a former Mornington Post Office building to run her beauty salon.

When her friend sent her a message saying the building was available to buy, she was busy.

"She messaged me while I was literally having a baby."

Three weeks after her son’s arrival, she had a look inside the building and decided "it would work" as a salon.

"It’s the perfect size."

She bought the building in May 2015.

The business contains three beauty rooms, a nail room, a bathroom big enough to do spray tans and a large reception area.

In the reception, an original bronze plaque reads: "Caution: Letters containing coins or articles of value should be registered at the Post Office".

After buying the building she had 12-week period to complete a fit-out including installing new walls, lighting, wiring and plumbing and transforming an office into a bathroom.

Many of the building’s original features remained, including sash windows and a walk-in safe, now used to store expensive beauty treatment equipment.

The kitchen was "untouched".

A flag pole on the roof had never been used since she bought the building.

"I’m too short — I can’t get up there, even with a ladder."

The fit-out of an old building was expensive, but she had never regretted buying a building to run a business in Mornington.

"Absolutely not."

Mornington building

The Mornington Post Office was designed by the New Zealand Post Office and was opened on August  20, 1905, built at a cost of £1026. The foundation stone was laid on February 18, 1905 by Minister of  Public Works  William Hall Jones,  who later became Prime Minister.
 
Mornington Post Office closed on July 27, 1990.
 
The building became a real estate office for three separate operators, a graphic design studio, a security company and now a  beauty salon.

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