The USPS issued a list of about 3700 post offices that will go under review for possible closing. It’s not surprising since the USPS continues to lose billions of dollars each year.
As part of its press release, the USPS reports that over 35% of its revenue now comes from non-traditional locations like grocery stores, drug stores, office supply stores, retail chains, self-service kiosks, ATMs and usps.com. In areas that will be affected by a post office closing, the USPS proposes a Village Post Office. The USPS says, “Village Post Offices would be operated by local businesses, such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other appropriate retailers, and would offer popular postal products and services such as stamps and flat-rate packaging.”
Does this sound familiar? It should!
In the 1800s and even into the 1900s, many small post offices where located in the corner of the local store. In many cases, the store owner was also the postmaster of the town. Store owners benefited because people had to come to their store to mail a letter, buy stamps, or pick up their mail. Postal customers would stop and buy something from the store too since they were already there.
By the 1940s, many of these small post offices went away. The post office moved to a dedicated building with an independent postmaster. Letter carriers and other postal clerks operated the post office. We’ve come full circle and the local post offices (Village Post Offices as they are now being called) are moving back into the local stores in the community.
The ordinary customer who just needs to buy some stamps is going to be largely unaffected. Ordinary customers probably make up 99.99% of the customers who currently use these little post offices targeted for closure. Mailers using extra services like Certified Mail or Express Mail are going to have to drive to a larger office.