The US Postal Service is bringing back a very old idea in an attempt to keep afloat in very modern times. The USPS is studying more than 3,600 post office locations for possible closure. At the same time, it’s looking to contract with about 2,500 small grocery and convenience stores to create “village post offices.”
The new Village Post Office
|Hopeton, Oklahoma 73746|
Already slated for closure.
The Postal Service will be looking for these small stores to contract with, including groceries, pharmacies and other retailers. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe made the announcement, along with the closure study list, this week.
“Many of these general stores are hanging on for dear life out there,” Donahoe said. “They can take the money we give them to pay the rent and pay the light bill. We think it’s a real win-win proposal.”
The contracted stores will be in charge of staffing and hours, and their services will be limited. For example, they are not expected to be able to provide certified mail or ship odd sized packages, CNN Money reported.
The original village Post Office
All of this reminds me of Haltom’s store in Hopeton, Oklahoma. When I was a kid in the 1970’s, Haltom’s was the general store and post office. Everett Haltom was the grocer, and Leora was the postmaster. The current Hopeton Post Office is a modular building. It makes no sense as a stand-alone entity. It has already been marked for closure, even before this week’s announcement. Hopeton doesn’t have a store anymore, but we do have a bank, and I would give real money for them to put a “village post office” in there.
A small town business opportunity?
Can small town retailers make a Village Post Office into a profitable sideline? It would take a certain minimum of traffic and population to make it work. There is no indication of how a business would go about volunteering. The process of Federal Government Contracting is never simple. If you’re possibly interested, I recommend you find your state or regional government bid assistance or contracting assistance service to help you with the process.
Thanks to Miss Dazey for prompting me to write about this.
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.