MAIL Boxes Etc is aiming to make its mark on the local business scene in Basingstoke.

New to the borough, the franchise, in Church Street, offers a range of business, communication and postal services.

It has been set up by Jennie McAlinden-Liles and her partner Davide Cino and was officially opened by Basingstoke and Deane Mayor Councillor Dan Putty on Valentine’s Day.

“Our main area is packing and shipping worldwide and so we have accounts with all the main couriers, such as FedEx, DHL, UPS, TNT and Parcelforce Worldwide,” explained Jennie, who said Mail Boxes Etc, headquartered in Italy, is well known across Europe, North America and Australia.

“We have a friend who owns a Mail Boxes Etc shop in London who introduced us to the franchise,” said Jennie. “There, it is a brand widely known, but in places like Basingstoke, people don’t know what it is.

“This town is growing so quickly and you have got multi-cultural communities coming in who need to access their home countries. Here is a great focal point where they can come in and know that there is a trusted service, where all the paperwork is going to get done for them, and where we know all the customs regulations.”

As the name suggests, the business also rents out mail boxes. Keen to point out that she is not offering PO Box, Jennie said: “We don’t offer you a number. We provide you with an address – 2a Church Street. I’m trying to attract home businesses or smaller businesses that want to cut their overheads – instead of renting a business unit, they can rent this address.”

The premises, which is being leased from the borough council, was recently used as The Shop gallery space used by local artists and students.

“The council have been very welcoming and supportive,” said Jennie. “They have been wonderful right from the beginning.

“I know there were other tenders for this shop and the surveyor from the council was very keen that we got in here because of the nature of the business, and we are proud of that.”

She also said the new business has had a great response from fellow Top of The Town shops and businesses.

Pleased with the location, Jennie anticipates that footfall will pick up once improvement work in nearby Market Place is completed.

Cllr Putty said: “The business will help to regenerate the Top of The Town. It will be good for the community.”