Area post offices could close


Kent resident Alexa Sandmann and Kent graduate and postal worker Allan Krysiak. Photo by Jenna Watson.

Caitlin Restelli

Twenty-eight years ago, Rebecca Byler and her husband purchased a house in Brady Lake that was big enough to provide room for them and their five children, while also providing an income with a post office within the house.

“That was a good selling point because we needed a big house,” Byler said. “It was big enough, and it had the income, so it put food on our table.”

Since retiring in 2009, Byler said she enjoys still having the post office for work.

She said if her post office was shut down due to the recent post office financial state, she would be devastated. She also said many people have told her they hope her store does not close because of it’s convenient location.

David Van Allen, spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service, said the financial problems are mainly associated with the decrease of mail volume.

People are not using the mail system as often due to options of advertising and paying bills online.

“The main problem with the situation is that people don’t mail like they used to,” Van Allen said. “Our bread and butter is First-Class Mail. That’s people mailing letters and bills for the mail. That — our bread and butter — is what’s significantly reduced.”

Jenny Arthur, The Works Inc. owner, said she has noticed the decrease in the amount of mail just over the past year. She said the quantity of mail she received a year ago in one day is equivalent to the total amount of mail she now receives in one week.

“It’s dwindled a lot and as far as how much I send out, too,” Arthur said. “I used to send, like, two or three things out a day, and now I send like one or two a week.”

On Sept. 15, USPS announced that nationwide changes would be made to help alleviate its financial debt.


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Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe said in a written statement that since 2006, USPS has closed 186 facilities. According to the statement, First-Class Mail has dropped 25 percent and single-piece First-Class Mail — letters bearing postage stamps — has declined 36 percent as well.

Not only does the issue potentially affect many post offices, but it also affects other businesses that work alongside USPS.

Proposals have been made which may change the amount of days post offices will be open. Trudy Capel, owner and manager of Kent UPS store, said if USPS decides to cut Saturday mail, it would not affect her business because Saturdays are a low-volume mail day; however, if USPS drops to three days a week, her store would feel the burden.

Capel compared the possible situation to that of a holiday weekend.

“When you even have a three day weekend, when you have that Monday off … because of a holiday, that Tuesday delivery is just huge, and you’re just sorting mail forever, and it’s late because the drivers — they’re all backed up, too, so that really puts a strain on the system,” Capel said.

Within the past six months, USPS partnered with UPS in a new program called Every Door Direct Mail. Capel said it helps businesses advertise though the mail without any kind of permit fees or mailing lists. It runs at a cheaper rate while creating revenue for USPS and putting it back on the market.

“We’re trying to make it easier for customers to use the postal service for their marketing because mail is tangible, it’s measurable, it provides results,” said Michael Laughlin, USPS business solutions specialist. “We’re trying to make mail relevant again.”

UPS provides the printing and USPS provides the mailing for only a 14-cent postage stamp rate.

“In order to keep the postal trucks on the road, they’ve got to find ways. They’re reaching out, trying to find more creative ways to make revenue — to stay in business — so this is a great way for them to do that,” Capel said.

Van Allen said that if USPS does nothing, it will be dealing with the issue where its bills are higher than its income.

“We’re looking for new ways to service the American public any way we can, and (Every Door Direct Mail) is just one of the new initiatives that came out…so they can send advertising to their designated audience without the need to acquire an address list…speeds it up for them, brings revenue in for us — everybody wins.”

Contact Caitlin Restelli at [email protected].