A POPULAR postmaster is looking forward to celebrating his 30th anniversary with a celebratory party this weekend – and you’re invited.
Sanjay Odedra, who runs the Embrook Post Office (yes, that single m is correct) on Reading Road, will be using the opportunity not just to look back but to look forward as well.
Visitors who attend the fun day on Saturday will be able to take part in a raffle to win a mountain bike, try some wines and items from the One Stop store range. There will also be an opportunity to try curry sauces made by Anila.
Children are promised a fresh slushy drink and, like all youngsters who attend a party, they’ll come away with a goodie bag to enjoy.
Money raised from the day will go towards a local charity.
Mr Odedra can’t wait. He said: “There won’t be any special guests coming along, it’s all about the community. We want to invite them to spend the day celebrating with us.
“The stores and Post Office has been here for over 100 years, I’ve been its longest owner.
“It doesn’t feel like 30 years. When I bought it I thought that I’d run it for five years and move on but the Embrook community is so good I’ve never wanted to leave.”
In that time, Mr Odedra has expanded and revamped the store, also looking for technological innovations that he can bring in to make customers lives’ easier.
“It was about 400 sq ft when we took over, it’s now about 1,600 sq ft,” he said. “It’s changed dramatically, and every change has been for the better. The community has always been so supportive over the years.
“And when I took over we had an old fashioned cash register. Last week I cleared out my shed and found five EPOS systems [electronic cash registers].”
The stores are now part of One Stop group and Mr Odedra said that the link up has been one of the best he’s had.
“The way they operate, it has a very professional feel about it,” he said.
And for the name?
“Some people argue that I’ve spent the name wrong, but I’ve checked with a Post Office historian who has kept records. He said that it’s definitely one ‘m’ in Embrook,” he explained.
While 30 years have gone by in a flash for Mr Odedra, he’s in no hurry to move on, not least because of his love for his many loyal customers.
“I still enjoy being here, so I’ll carry on. Lots of customers come in every day and it can take me an hour to walk into town because people always want to stop and chat with me,” he said.
Embrook Post Office and One Stop stores will hold its family fun day on Saturday, June 9 from 11am to 3pm. Entry is free.