Community are still top priority for new owner of Bury St Edmunds post office

Mash Odedra has taken over Lake Avenue Post office from Paul Luke who has been there for 24 years. ANL-161101-172531009
Mash Odedra has taken over Lake Avenue Post office from Paul Luke who has been there for 24 years. ANL-161101-172531009

As a valued Bury St Edmunds post office changes hands, its old and new owners have expressed their wish to keep it at the heart of the community.

Paul Luke has managed the Lake Avenue Post Office since 1992, but has now handed the store over to Mash Odedra, an employee since May 2015.

It is a first foray into the retail industry for Mash, a former associate director at a freight company, who officially took over the post office and convenience store in November when he was made post master.

The 35-year-old moved to Suffolk from Leicester with his wife Arti and three-month-old daughter Aanya.

Paul, 62, took Mash under his wing and trained him for the managerial role – even having the Odedras live with him and wife Dianne while the flat above the convenience store was renovated.

Mash said: “Paul has been an absolute legend, an amazing mentor. He has been very patient and kind with the care and attention he has given the transfer of the business.

“The local community has been extremely supportive and welcoming. We employ 15 staff and everyone has been working hard for me as they did for Paul.”

In his 24 years in charge, Paul helped the post office undergo a huge expansion in 1998 and built it into a community hub for the Mildenhall Road estate and beyond.

“People from the estate meet and shop here, and feel very welcome and at home. I don’t think many other shops feel like that,” said Paul.

“There has been no hassle at all, the customers and staff have been really great.”

Mash said he wants to keep helping and serving the community. The shop has extended its opening hours and will soon be stocking more than 100 extra products. Paul will continue to work part-time at the store, at Mash’s request.