Mail Boxes Etc. UK & Ireland's blog

MBE Ealing, Hugh Grant and The Gentlemen movie

Location, location - It’s not every day your store features in a Guy Ritchie movie

The London borough of Ealing, once dubbed ‘queen of suburbs’, has been the backdrop to many films and TV shows – mainly thanks to the prolific Ealing Studios, which opened in 1902.  

When Guy Ritchie wanted to film a London-themed gangster movie, The Gentlemen, last year, he selected the iconic studios as his base.  Many of the scenes were shot on location in the area, and when one of the characters needed to be shown using a mailbox, Guy didn’t have far to look.

Yet despite his proximity to the oldest continuously working film production studio in the world, MBE franchisee Nick Bath was surprised when a location management company contacted him to ask if they could film some scenes in his store, which is close to Ealing Broadway.

“They needed to show one of the characters depositing something in a mailbox, so we were the natural choice,” explains Nick. “However, in the end they decided to shoot just the exterior of the store – but it was still a huge privilege to be a small part of the movie.”  

When the film opened in cinemas on 1 January, several of Nick’s customers were quick to spot the shots that included MBE Ealing: “They popped in to say how pleased they were to see our store feature in a very good film, and how proud it made them feel to be our customers,” says Nick.

Up for a challenge

While hosting a location shoot was not on his agenda when he set up the business in 2012, Nick was definitely up for a new challenge, having worked as a DHL service partner for several years.  “I wanted to continue working for myself, and I already had experience of the courier side of things, so a franchise with Mail Boxes Etc. was a natural choice,” he says.  “There wasn’t an MBE anywhere in Ealing, and it’s quite close to where I live, so it seemed like a great opportunity.  The head office team really helped me get the business off the ground, with setup assistance and training, and we haven’t looked back.”

Nick, who is sometimes helped by his partner and son in the store, offers the full range of MBE services.  With mailbox rental, shipping and post representing much of his turnover, his print services are also popular with customers.  “We have a good split between residential and business customers, and we also see a lot of students who need their dissertations printing and binding.”  Looking to the future, Nick says he may open a second MBE store in west London, although he realises that being the backdrop to scenes in a major film is probably a one-off experience!

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