Alister Hartman and team
A new store in Streatham is offering customers a wide range of Royal Mail postal services, as well as parcel shipping, design and print. After a career in IT, local businessman Alister Hartman decided to turn his hand to retailing, and opened his Mail Boxes Etc. store at 10 Streatleigh Parade, Streatham, SW16 earlier this year. The business has already proved a success, with plenty of demand from both passers-by and regular customers.
Asked why he decided to change direction, Alister said it was the fun of interacting with the general public and the challenge of starting a new business from scratch that attracted him.
“I worked in IT for over 20 years, and I wanted something that would bring some fun into my working week,” he explains. “I did some research online and liked the Mail Boxes Etc. business model, because it offers a number of revenue streams. Having attended several franchise shows, I came back to the MBE idea because when I spoke to them they really inspired me with their enthusiasm. No other opportunities matched up.”
Alister runs the store with his wife, Angela, sister-in-law Vita, and son Nicholas. “I’m lucky because my family is on my side and they’re investing their time to help make this a success,” he says.
The store has something for everyone: “We offer Royal Mail postal services without the queues; fast and easy parcel delivery using UPS, DHL, FedEx and other big brands; a mailing address and virtual office service; design and print; shredding and secure data destruction,” Alister continues.
“We attracted a lot of local interest right from the start – we’ve done lots of printing, shipping and our stationery supplies are very popular. There’s a bus stop just outside the store, which means passengers look in the window and pop inside before starting their journey or after getting off the bus. It’s ideal for small businesses but we have lots of personal customers too.”
Alister recently invested in a top-of-the-range Xerox digital printer for faster, better quality print that he can turn around in-store. He also offers Western Union money transfers, which have proved popular with locals who want to send money overseas.
Ideally located on the high street, close to Streatham Hill station, the new store is in a thriving, up-and-coming part of London. Opening hours are designed to meet the needs of commuters as well as local business users. “We’re open from 8.30am to 7pm Monday to Friday, and 9am to 6pm on Saturday.”