Skip to main content

Postal Service eyes closings, overhaul of retail approach

By Paul Courson, CNN
Postal officials say the downsizing will try to preserve local town identities by maintaining their names and ZIP codes.
Postal officials say the downsizing will try to preserve local town identities by maintaining their names and ZIP codes.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The U.S. Postal Service considers closing low-use post offices
  • The service will detail a plan for joint retail ventures with grocery stores, others
  • The list of possible closings is subject to appeal and review
RELATED TOPICS

Washington (CNN) -- Your little post office might be on a proposed list of closings coming out Tuesday as the U.S. Postal Service tries to find ways to cut red ink. Some would be replaced by a "Village Post Office" located within a commercial retail store.

Postmaster General Patrick Donohoe planned a news conference Tuesday to release a long-awaited "post office study list" of potential closings nationwide, typically targeting rural post offices where only a few hundred customers are served. The facilities targeted, potentially numbering in the thousands, will be subject to a review and appeals process before any final decision is made.

The list was developed based on low workload among post office employees, a small number of customers, and whether that location could be combined with other postal facilities nearby.

The list to be released Tuesday has 3,653 facilities named, according to materials CNN obtained. They are categorized as follows:

GROUP 1: Less than $27,500 in annual revenue; less than 2 hours of workload daily (3,061)

GROUP 2: Less than $600,000 in annual revenue; 5 or more access points within 2 miles (385)

GROUP 3: Less than $1 million in annual revenue; 5 or more access points within 0.5 miles (188)

GROUP 4: Offices currently suspended (19)

Donohoe is also expected to provide details of a plan to increase joint marketing with other retailers as a way to improve customer access to postal services. A presentation obtained by CNN includes a drawing of a small grocery storefront, combined with signage suggesting the building is also a "Village Post Office," complete with signs featuring the stylized logo of the postal service.

In May, Donohoe told CNN, "You've got a post office, a gas station, and a store; they're in a small town, the gas station and the store are struggling, we think we can provide service through contracts in many cases," that could cut operating costs for the Postal Service.

Post office closings have upset some community leaders who say it could hurt their town's identity and make it difficult for the elderly to collect their mail and send letters. Some post offices, such as Laneview, Virginia, have already been notified they were under review and have held meetings to prepare to challenge any decision to close.

"This post office is small," said Laneview manager Cynthia Reed-Fisher, "and from me working here the past two years, I was pretty sure that this post office would be on the list." Dozens attended a meeting at a church to tell the Postal Service why their location should be spared.

Donohoe and other postal officials have told CNN the downsizing will try to preserve local town identities by maintaining their names and zip codes, and continuing to deliver that mail through other nearby facilities.

 
Quick Job Search